All posts tagged: Fiction

Shelf Life: Ru by Kim Thúy

“I am lucky that I’ve learned to savour the pleasure of resting my head in a hand, and my parents are lucky to be able to capture the love of my children when the little ones drop kisses into their hair, spontaneously, with no formality, during a session of tickling in bed. I myself have touched my father’s head only once. He had ordered me to lean on it as I stepped over the handrail of the boat.”  Kim Thúy is such a masterful storyteller. The voice of her narrator meanders almost effortlessly between different space-times and histories, navigating through them through details that are often presented in breathtakingly ordinary ways: a colour, the changed tense of a word, an object, a person. There is a term for the way she writes: 細膩.       “Without writing, he wouldn’t have heard the snow melting or leaves growing or clouds sailing through the sky. Nor would he have seen the dead end of a thought, the remains of a star or the texture of a …

In Which I Scratch the Wall of Literature and Discover Whitewash Under My Nails

I recently began reading The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw, a Malaysian writer. I usually look for titles at book stores that betray their affiliation to the genre we call “Post-Colonial” as it is my favorite. But as I began to read, I ran into a few problems. There are two separate moments in the reading of the first two chapters that made me think:  The narrator mentions that he was educated in a school for the rich where they read Dickens. The next line reads, “For the boys, life is good, but not always. They have the best of times, they have the worst of times.” I smile at the reference to A Tale of two Cities, you know, one of those smirky moments you get when you catch the author’s humor. But of course, this is only possible because I know the famous opening line of this particular Dickens book. The protagonist mentions that his father Johnny Lim’s real name is in fact Lim Seng Chin. My immediate response as a reader to this name is one …