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The Boat
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In 1979, Nam Le's family left Vietnam for Australia, an experience that inspires the first and last stories in The Boat. In between, however, Le's imagination lays claim to the world.

About the Author

Nam Le's first book, The Boat, received the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize (Best Writing Award), the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award, among other honours. It was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and Editor's Choice, the best debut of 2008 by the Australian Book Review and New York Magazine, and a book of the year by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Herald Sun, The Monthly, and numerous sources around the world. The Boat has been translated into thirteen languages and its stories widely anthologised. Le is the fiction editor of the Harvard Review.

Reviews

From a Colombian slum to the streets of Tehran, seven characters in seven stories struggle with very particular Swords of Damocles in Pushcart Prize winner Le's accomplished debut. In "Halflead Bay," an Australian mother begins an inevitable submission to multiple sclerosis as her teenage son prepares for the biggest soccer game of his life. The narrator of "Meeting Elise," a successful but ailing artist in Manhattan, mourns his dead lover as he anticipates meeting his daughter for the first time since she was an infant. The opening "Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice" features a Vietnamese character named Nam who is struggling to complete his Iowa Writer's Workshop master's as his father comes for a tense visit, the first since an earlier estrangement shattered the family. The story's ironies--"You could totally exploit the Vietnamese thing," says a fellow student to Nam--are masterfully controlled by Le, and reverberate through the rest of this peripatetic collection. Taken together, the stories cover a vast geographic territory (Le was born in Vietnam and immigrated to Australia) and are filled with exquisitely painful and raw moments of revelation, captured in an economical style as deft as it is sure. (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

From Vietnam-born Nam, raised in Australia and living here part-time, "wonderful stories" (says the publicist) that bounce from Colombia to Tehran to the South China Sea. With a six-city tour. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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