Random House of Canada|September 6, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-307-35970-4
Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow—of tears, blood, money. Kim Thuy’s Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy’s autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book but felt it was somehow ‘unfinished’. I really would have preferred to of had more detail in each section. I felt it lacked in detail and would have enhanced the story greatly if the author had of delved into the lives and experiences more deeply.
I can only imagine though the difficulties and challenges one would encounter being a refugee coming from Vietnam to Quebec. Talk about a culture shock!
Trying to raise an autistic child in a completely new world would be difficult at best and would present a myriad of challenges all on their own, challenges we probably couldn’t even begin to fathom, but the author handled it with grace.
Overall, Ru was a most enjoyable experience.