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article imageReview: Kim Thúy's 'Ru' is poetic and moving Special

By Chanah Rubenstein     Oct 29, 2012 in Entertainment
Kim Thúy’s debut novel, ‘Ru’, is a beautifully poetic and moving book, which brings readers from Vietnam, to Malaysia, and onto Quebec. Inspirational, wise and powerful, Thúy flourishes and captivates readers absolutely.
Seamlessly moving between ideas, thoughts, places and times, Kim Thúy shares with us the story of a family escaping from the Communists and the American soldiers in Vietnam in the 1970's. The family moves into a refugee camp in Malaysia and then head for a new beginning in Montreal.
‘Ru’ is a beautiful piece of fictional writing that fore-goes conventional novel formats. Chapters have been abandoned and replaced with sections not running more than the length of a page. Sometimes a section will read independently, but is never without point or purpose.
There isn’t a single storyline; instead, many stories converge in on each other to create a piece of work that can move you to tears. It is a poetic, meditative piece that is powerful and insightful.
‘Ru’ is heavy with symbolism and imagery; it’s subtle and simple, but strong. Thúy’s story is heartbreaking, yet humble and hopeful. She is able to point out the flaws of Western priorities without being critical or passing judgement, but rather, she praises with gratitude the good intentions.
The ending lingers and tapers without solidity, but it seems to work. Kim Thúy packages a rare and adventurous story, personally told, and seals it with insight, heart and wisdom. She has a power unrecognized; a humility not usually seen in most writers.
Kim Thúy was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Her mother, herself and her two brothers fled the country and landed in Quebec when she was 10 years old. She studied at Université de Montréal, completing a degree in law and a degree in linguistics and translation. ‘Ru’ was originally published in French, but has been translated into English by Sheila Fischman. ‘Ru’ is already an award winning novel, having captured The Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, The Grand prix littéraire Archambault, The Prix du Grand Public Salon du Livre/La Presse, The Grand prix littéraire RTL-Lire (France), and The Mondello Prize for Multiculturalism (Italy).
Kim Thúy's 'Ru' is part of the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist. She appears alongside Nancy Richler's 'The Imposter Bride', Alix Ohlin's 'Inside', Will Ferguson's '419', and Russell Wangersky's 'Whirl Away'. The winner of this years Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award, will be announced tomorrow, Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 9 p.m. EST. Digital Journal has reviewed all of the books nominated this year.
More about Kim Thuy, Scotiabank giller prize, Canadian literature
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