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The Boat

The Boat [Kindle Edition]

Nam Le
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description


* A breathtakingly assured collection of stories-powerful, moving, unsparingly honest-exhibiting a narrative confidence and range that is as remarkable as it is mature. A tremendous debut. -- William Boyd * A promising and fiercely talented writer Telegraph * The short story collection is constantly on the endangered list, but this stunning collection...shows that it is alive and in the best of health. The Times * An assured and tremendously readable collection from a young writer with rare scope and strength. Observer * These are people on the edge, and Nam's prose captures their desperation...bold and worthwhile. Memoirists should stick to what they know; the point of literature is to expand the limits of the world. -- Aravind Adiga Financial Times * Le has the ability to hit notes of real emotional intensity. -- Hari Kunzru Scotsman * Each voice is achingly present and authentic ... ['Halflead Bay'] is as good as anything Tim Winton has produced about Australian society. Guardian * Wonderful stories that snarl and pant across our crazed world ... an extraordinary performance by a fine new talent. Nam Le is a heartbreaker, not easily forgotten. -- Junot Diaz * The Boat is tremendous, challenging and ambitious, worthy of the same shelf that holds Dubliners and The Things They Carried-like those works, it asks to be read as a whole and taken seriously as a book... this book nails our collective now, our kairos, with an urgency and relevance that feels visionary. Charles D'Ambrosio * From the very first page of The Boat, Nam Le's extraordinary talent, range of vision, and moral courage make the reader sit up and take notice. By the last page, one feels a kind of fervent gratitude-rare enough these days-for having been introduced to a young writer whose mark on the literary world, so freshly made, will only grow deeper in the years to come. John Burnham Schwartz * Nam Le writes with a rare blend of courage and beauty ... Book your passage on The Boat. You will not forget the people you meet on the voyage. Chris Offutt * The Boat is an impressive feat, and the debut of a very talented writer. Adam Haslett * I was impressed and deeply moved by the many worlds to which this brilliant young writer transported me. A terrific book. Margot Livesey * A superb collection, brimming with humour and compassion. -- Ian Critchley Daily Telegraph * Le's book takes a playful swipe at the good intentions of liberal America. Independent

Chris Offutt

Nam Le writes with a rare blend of courage and beauty.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 413 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 030726808X
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (8 July 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #175,564 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We're all human 13 Aug 2009
The Boat, a collection of short stories by Nam Le, came to me as one of two books, for achieving the short list for the Litopia short story competition on the subject "First Twin".

In his opening story, Le plays an authorial game. A member of a writing group claims he is sick of "ethnic lit", of writers posing on jacket covers in traditional costume, of stories with descriptions of exotic food. Nam Le is Vietnamese, a member of a writing group and every one of his stories concerns a different type of ethnicity and, of course, contains a mention of some ethnic dish.

This sly humour is characteristic and refreshing. It's needed, because the subject matter is often dark. A child describes his life as an evacuee from his native city. American planes fly overhead on secret missions, his parents visit, reassure him; then return to Hiroshima. A Colombian hitman, barely into his teens, discovers love, loyalty and the price of friendship. An aging artist receives news of terminal illness and desperately attempts to contact his beloved, estranged daughter. A Vietnamese girl boards a boat crammed with other illegal immigrants. A storm blows them off course and supplies of water and food begin to run out.

It's a moving, stunning collection of tales and if Le occasionally allows allusiveness to descend into incoherence, it's forgivable, because these are stories which should drift into silence, rather than end with a bang. And it's only at the end that the point Le makes at the beginning becomes clear: however different our background and experience may appear to make us, just under the surface, we're all human.
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5.0 out of 5 stars `The storm came on quickly.' 15 April 2011
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
This collection of short stories is Nam Le's first book. It's a wonderful collection of seven stories, set in different cultures, contexts and countries. Two of the stories are close to Nam's Vietnamese heritage: Nam and his family escaped from Vietnam in 1979 when Nam was just three months old.

The first story, `Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice' is a story about a writer (also named Nam) studying in the USA. Nam is struggling over whether to use his father's account of surviving My Lai and North Vietnamese prison camps as a creative writing assignment. His father does not care for his son's career choice, and does not appreciate his writing.

The final story `The Boat' is a moving account of the flight of refugees, leaving Vietnam by boat hoping to establish a better life in Australia. It's a story with some haunting moments:

`They stood together in silence, the spray moistening their faces as they looked forward, focusing all their sight and thought on that blurry peninsula ahead, that impossible place, so that they would not be forced to behold the men at the back of the boat peeling the blanket off, swinging the small body once, twice, three times before letting go, tossing him as far behind the boat as possible so he would be out of sight when the sharks attacked.'

`Cartegna' depicts a violent Colombia where boys are transformed into men, and corpses, through drugs and gangs, while `Meeting Elise' (set in Manhattan) is the story of a man dying who is trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. In `Halfhead Bay', a boy lives with his family in an Australian coastal village, while in `Hiroshima' a girl is living in the days before the bomb is dropped.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Boat - Nam Le 14 April 2009
This is an excellent collection of short stories - varied in content but uniformly well written and evocative and I agreed with one critic that the stories would certainly bear more than one reading.
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