Ru is a uniquely constructed book. Author Kim Thuy's background as a boat person provides the clothesline upon which scenes are hung. Some of the scenes are three and a half pages; others are as short as a half a page--all contribute to the story. The cloth-pegs are a few words or a sentence which link one scene to the other. One scene concludes with the sentence 'As time went on, we no longer started our day with soup.' The next scene begins with, 'I went back to having soup for breakfast'.
I was charmed by the sheer beauty of Ms. Thuy's writing: 'I moved forward in the trace of their footsteps as in a waking dream where the scent of a newly blown poppy is no longer a perfume but a blossoming: where the deep red of a maple leaf in autumn is no longer a colour but a grace; where a country is no longer a place but a lullaby.' (p. 140)
Other favourite quotes...
'He had stopped time by continuing to enjoy himself, to live until the end with the lightness of a young man.' (p. 59)
'No, I don't have the right to say that I was the same age as her: her age was measured in the number of stars she saw when she was being beaten and not in years, months, days.' (p. 83)
'Ru carries us along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new beginning in Quebec. 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.'
To learn more about this book
Kim Thuy on writing Ru and the Immigrant Experience (YouTube)
A Refugee's Multilayered Experience in 'Ru' (npr books)
Sharing my author journey...
This week I discovered some intriguing literary agents. So I polished my query letter, pressed send and am waiting for magic to happen.
Next post: Please welcome author Christy Farmer