Friday, March 31, 2017

Dear Great Book Guru,  April showers have come a few days early to Sea Cliff and as I sit looking out at another rainy day, my thoughts turn to finding a good book.  I am a fan of short stories long on beauty and insight.  Do you have any suggestions?  Awaiting April

Dear Awaiting April, Unlike you,  I am not a huge fan of short stories, but I just finished a remarkable collection of eight beautifully written, compelling tales: THE REFUGEES by Viet Thanh Nguyen- author of last year’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel THE SYMPATHIZER.  Nguyen left Vietnam as a young man – a refugee who found a home in California.  His newest book recounts the lives of those who came here and those who remained behind, and how these lives intersect.   In the opening story, a young woman is haunted by the spirit of her brother who died helping her escape, but she finds herself questioning who is truly the ghost: she or her brother. Others of the refugees include an elderly professor who begins to confuse his wife with a young girl he knew long ago in Vietnam. Soon we see that each of Nguyen’s characters is forced to deal with the present and the past. It is not their memories that pain them, but their need to forget so much of what formed them.  While each refugee’s story is unique, all share the pain of a lost homeland. Highly recommended!

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