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Monsieur Linh and his Child

Monsieur Linh and his Child [Kindle Edition]

Philippe Claudel , Euan Cameron
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description


'Like all good fables, it conveys the sense of a greater significance beyond itself' Daniel Hahn, Independent.

'There is nothing sentimental about the prose, which is as restrained and delicate as a piece of Indochinese artwork' Ophelia Field, Guardian.

'This is an extraordinary, powerful and moving novel of the refugee experience ... Highly recommended' Sarah Bower, Historical Novels Society.

'A delicately sympathetic portrayal of trauma, as well as a poignant evocation of guilt' Maya Jaggi, Guardian.

'An exquisitely crafted little gem of a book' Rebecca Isherwood, Skinny.

'Exquisite' Allan Massie, Scotsman.

'an impossibly elegant novel, one that makes you sort of wistful at the beauty of the words and their meaning' Black Sheep Dances.

'Claudel maintains a simplicity and sensitivity throughout the book, mirroring the compassion and sympathy that the men share for each other' The Irish Times.

Product Description

Traumatized by memories of his war-ravaged country, his son and daughter-in-law dead, Monsieur Linh travels to a foreign land to bring the child in his arms to safety. To begin with, he is too afraid to leave the refugee centre, but the first time he braves the freezing cold to walk the streets of this strange, fast-moving town, he encounters Monsieur Bark, a widower whose dignified sorrow mirrors his own. Though they have no shared language, an instinctive friendship is forged; but Monsieur Linh's stay in the dormitory is only temporary. Sooner or later he and his child must find a permanent home.

Delicate and restrained, but with an extraordinary twist, Monsieur Linh and His Child is an immensely moving novel of perfect simplicity, by the author of Brodeck's Report.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 188 KB
  • Print Length: 137 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1906694990
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (31 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004YOEQ58
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #128,314 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bitter, Sweet and Wistful 29 Mar 2011
"An old man is standing on the after-deck of a ship. In his arms he clasps a flimsy suitcase and a newborn baby, even lighter than the suitcase. The old man's name is Monseiur Linh. He is the only person who knows this is his name because all those who once knew it are dead." (p.1)

So begins Monsieur Linh and His Child: bitter and sweet and wistful - the very notes on which the curtain closes, come the occasion - it is a Kafka-esque elegy of friendship which handily sustains the sense of uncomplicated beauty evidenced above over its abbreviated course. A 2005 novella, lately translated from the French by Euan Cameron, from Philippe Claudel, author of Brodeck's Report and erstwhile director of the sublime foreign-language film I've Loved You So Long, at 100 small-format pages of oversized font, Monseiur Linh and His Child is in stature hardly more than a short story, but it has all the emotional impact of a gut-punch to the soul.

There is an old man, and a fat man. A doddering refugee from a war-torn state whose only reason for living is the infant girl he clutches tight against his chest, rescued miraculously from the battlefield on which her entire family lay dead, and a cheery chain-smoker with a penchant for hot toddies who hasn't connected with anyone since his wife passed away. One day, they sit on the same bench. So begins a friendship that will come to mean much to Monsieur Linh and his bench-fellow, Bark.

"He recalls the touch of the old man's hand when he placed it on his shoulder. He then remembers that he is alone in the world, with his little girl. Alone together. That his country is far away. That his country is no longer there, so to speak. That it is nothing but fragments of memories and dreams that survive on in his weary old man's head." (p.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars achingly perfect 26 Mar 2012
Translated from the French by Euan Cameron

"Sitting on this bench which, within the space of just two days, has become a familiar little spot, a chunk of floating wood he could cling to in the midst of a strange, broad, swirling torrent. And nestling cosily against him he clasps the last twig of the branch, sleeping its fearless sleep for the time being, without melancholy or sadness; that sleep of a satisfied infant, happy to have found the warmth of the skin it loves, its pleasant smoothness and the caress of a loving voice."

Monsieur Linh has lost almost everything: his wife, his son, and even his city, as war has displaced him and made him a refugee in a French city. To his joy, he has one remaining connection to the past and a hope for the future: his infant granddaughter. Brought with him on the rough journey to France, his only concern is her safety and welfare. In the crowded refugee center, he quietly launders her baby clothes, holds her as she sleeps, and in his traditional garb, becomes an eccentric sight to the other visitors. During the day, he takes her out walking for fresh air.

"'I am your grandfather,' Monsieur Linh tells her, `and we are together, there are two of us, the only two, the last two. But don't be afraid, I am here, nothing can happen to you. I am old, but I'll still have enough strength, as long as it is needed, as long as you are a little green mango in need of an old mango tree.'"

It's on these walks that he finds the wood park bench described above, where he watches the city go by and tries to make sense of its foreign tongue. Soon he meets Monsieur Bark, another man beset by losses, and both find the bench to be their place to come to grips with their pasts and the uncertain future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Exquisite 23 Sep 2013
Translated from the French, this is 130 pages of the most exquisite and perfect writing. This little book will touch your soul and leave both a lingering sadness and joy at what the human soul can desire and find.

Monsieur Linh is an elderly Vietnamese refugee who has endured a long journey by boat with his baby grand daughter and one old suitcase. He has seen his homeland destroyed by foreign soldiers, his village, fields, buildings and population burnt and killed, including his son and daughter-in-law. All that is left is the baby, Sang diu. Monsieur Linh arrives in a city in France, and is moved to a refugee centre where he lives in a dormitory like place with other refugees. He is lonely, homesick, deeply traumatised, only living to devote his whole self to his care of the child.

One day, having gone out for a walk to give Sang diu some air, he meets Monsieur Bark, an elderly gentleman whose wife has recently died. The two of them strike up a most unusual but strangely beautiful friendship, as of course neither can understand the other. But both feel the pain and loss in the other, and both are soothed by voice of the other, the body language, the smiles, and genuine attempts at understanding. Things go terribly awry when Monsieur Linh is suddenly moved out of the refugee centre to an old people's home some distance away. But he never gives up hope or the determination that he and the baby will be ok, and that he will see Monsieur Bark again.

This could be a book set in any time or in any city. It has the universal themes of war, displacement, hope, humanity and love. We live in times where millions of people have been forced to leave their entire lives behind, often having witnessed the murders and deaths of their loved ones.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Philippe Caudel is an excellent author.
Published 24 days ago by Phil B
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle Yet Surprising
I loved this little book. I finished it in a few short hours, having borrowed it from the library. I'm about to purchase the Kindle version for my partner and son to read, after... Read more
Published 28 days ago by CaSundara
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful......
This book had me in tears several times, so warm and heart felt when everything is lost. I feel like the characters are dear old uncles, this book is so full of emotion, it's just... Read more
Published 29 days ago by MISS RAYA HAJ-ASSAD
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A wonderful book.
Published 1 month ago by Sheena
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs A G C Dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars Monsieur link
A book that should be on a' must read list'. Enjoyed reading the story ion French as we'll. a book for every age
Published 4 months ago by Marco Polo
5.0 out of 5 stars what a beautiful little book
it's like a Mozart chocolate ball.
you enjoy the beautiful rapper, you peel it slowly, you take tiny bites and you keep them in your mouth for as long as you can… and then... Read more
Published 6 months ago by bb la terza
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
My sister recommended this book, I found it very moving. I will be suggesting it for my book club.
Published 10 months ago by MRS CAROLINE M BARLOW
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary book
This is a book that tells a story on different levels. It is hauntingly beautiful and original. It goes straight to the heart of what it must be like to be a displaced person who... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Pamela
4.0 out of 5 stars Monsieur Linh and his child
An unusual book which calls for a sympathetic ear. The simplicity of the old mans faith that he is doing the right thing in taking

the child away from the horror and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Joyce Davies
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The other memories, those that cut, those that wound, those that pierce the soul and devour it, they all disappear, diluted in the water like a drop of ink in the ocean.” &quote;
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