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Publisher's Summary

Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow - of tears, blood, money. Kim Thúy's Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation, and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream.

As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy's autism. 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.

Winner 2015 - Canada Reads

Winner 2011 - Grand prix littéraire Archambault

Winner 2011 - Mondello Prize for Multiculturalism

Winner 2010 - Prix du Grand Public Salon du livre - Essai/Livre pratique

Winner 2010 - Governor General’s Award for Fiction (French-language)

Winner 2010 - Grand Prix RTL-Lire at the Salon du livre de Paris

Longlisted 2013 - Man Asian Literary Prize Longlisted

2014 - International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Nominated

2012 - Amazon.ca First Novel Award Shortlist

2012 - Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist

2012 - Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation

©2012 Kim Thuy; translation Sheila Fischman (P)2018 Penguin Random House Canada

Critic Reviews

“This is one of the millions of stories of migration in this country, the story of a woman migrating from Vietnam to Canada.... It is harrowing, beautiful, and has compressed, perfect writing. This is the story of the future of Canada.” (Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, defending Ru at Canada Reads 2015)

"This is an exemplary autobiographical novel. Never is there the slightest hint of narcissism or self-pity. The major events in the fall of Vietnam are painted in delicate strokes, through the daily existence of a woman who has to reinvent herself elsewhere. A tragic journey described in a keen, sensitive and perfectly understated voice." (Governor General's Literary Award jury citation) 

“Gloriously, passionately, delicately unique.... A remarkable book; one that has well-earned every note of praise it has received.” (The Chronicle Journal)

“Powerful and engaging.... In short entries that read lyrically and poetically - but also powerfully, pungently, and yet gently, dispassionately - Ru blends politics and history, celebration and violence within a young girl’s imaginative experience.... [I]ts hybrid and enchanted voice conjur[es] a love song out of chaos and pain, singing and rilling its simplicities.” (Winnipeg Free Press)

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