Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 9781608198986, 141pp.
Publication Date: November 27, 2012
Winner of the Governor General's Literary AwardWinner of the Grand Prix RTL-LireShortlisted for the Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie
Longlisted for Canada Reads 2015
At ten years old, Kim Thuy fled Vietnam on a boat with her family, leaving behind a grand house and the many less tangible riches of their home country: the ponds of lotus blossoms, the songs of soup-vendors. The family arrived in Quebec, where they found clothes at the flea market, and mattresses with actual fleas. Kim learned French and English, and as she grew older, seized what opportunities an immigrant could; she put herself through school picking vegetables and sewing clothes, worked as a lawyer and interpreter, and later as a restaurateur. She was married and a mother when the urge to write struck her, and she found herself scribbling words at every opportunity - pulling out her notebook at stoplights and missing the change to green. The story emerging was one of a Vietnamese emigre on a boat to an unknown future: her own story fictionalized and crafted into a stunning novel.
The novel's title, "Ru," has meaning in both Kim's native and adoptive languages: in Vietnamese, "ru" is a lullaby; in French, a stream. And it provides the perfect name for this slim yet potent novel. With prose that soothes and sings, "Ru "weaves through time, flows and transports: a river of sensuous memories gathering power. It's a classic immigrant story told in a breathtaking new way.
About the Author
Praise For Ru…
Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award
Finalist for the Giller Prize
"[A] moving autobiographical novel... Thuy's poetic vignettes, set along the way from Southeast Asia to Quebec, bring specificity to the familiar immigrant journey." - Susannah Meadows, The New York Times
"This extraordinary first novel unfolds like ethereal poetry…. this is much more than another immigration story. For readers in search of intricate, mesmerizing narrative, Ru will not disappoint." - Library Journal, starred review
"Less is more in this slim, award-winning autobiographical novel... This flow of memories [goes] beyond the refugee experience to touch on war and peace, the strength of maternal love, even the devastation of autism... Ru means 'stream' in French and 'lullaby' in Vietnamese; both are apt for this luminous first novel of memories strung together in concise yet lyrical and sensuous prose." - Booklist, starred review
"Unsentimental... poetic and powerful." - The Guardian
"Gloriously, passionately, delicately unique... A remarkable book." - The Chronicle Journal