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Dragon House

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Dragon House Cover

ISBN13: 9780451227850
ISBN10: 0451227859
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the critically acclaimed author of Beneath a Marble Sky and Beside a Burning Sea—the new novel from “a master storyteller,”* set in contemporary Asia.

From John Shors comes an unforgettable story of redemption set in modern-day Vietnam.

Dragon House tells the tale of Iris and Noah—two Americans who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. In the slums of a city that has known little but war for generations, Iris and Noah befriend children who dream of nothing more than of going to school, having a home, and being loved. Learning from the poorest of the poor, the most silent of the unheard, Iris and Noah find themselves reborn. Resounding with powerful themes of suffering, sacrifice, friendship, and love, Dragon House brings together East and West, war and peace, and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

Review:

"Shors's third novel tells an absorbing story weakened by melodrama, sentimentality and exposition. After promising her dying father, a Vietnam War veteran, to take care of his shelter for street children in Ho Chi Minh City, American writer Iris agrees to take along her childhood friend Noah, now a depressed veteran who lost his leg in Iraq. In Vietnam, they find the shelter has drawn an appealing cast of Americans and Vietnamese, all seeking escape and salvation, including two children exploited by a brutal drug addict, and an impoverished old woman whose granddaughter is dying of cancer. Though interesting, most characters never overcome Shors's insistence on telling, rather than showing, their inner lives ('he hurt and hated so much'). Melodrama and mawkish foreshadowing ('I'm taking the risks... and everything's going to be just the way it was meant to be') will prove familiar to anyone who's watched a TV movie. Though frustrating, this is the kind of novel (provocative, polarizing, exotic) that should stir book group discussion." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Set in modern-day Vietnam, DRAGON HOUSE tells the tale of Iris and Noah-two Americans, who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. Irish and Noah find themselves reborn in an exotic land filled with corruption and chaos, sacrifice and beauty. Inspired by the street children she meets, Iris walks in the footsteps of her father, a man whom Vietnam both shattered and saved. Meanwhile, Noah slowly rediscovers himself through the eyes of an unexpected companion. Resounding with the powerful themes of suffering, sacrifice, friendship, and love, DRAGON HOUSE brings together East and West, war and peace; and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.

About the Author

"In a large cast of appealing characters, the street children are the heart of this book; their talents, friendships, and perils keep you turning the pages."

-Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club

"I loved this book and cared deeply about the characters brought to life by Shors' clear sensitivity to the plight of the unseen and unwanted in Vietnam."

-Elizabeth Flock, New York Times bestselling author of Me & Emma

"Amid the wreckage of what's known in Vietnam as the "American War," Shors has set his sprawling, vibrant novel. All of his characters--hustlers, humanitarians, street children--carry wounds, visible or otherwise. And in the cacophony of their voices, he asks that most essential question: "How can we be better?"

-David Oliver Relin, bestselling author of Three Cups of Tea

"There is a tenderness in this moving, deeply descriptive novel that brings all those frequently hidden qualities of compassion, purity of mind, and, yes, love- the things we used to call the human spirit-into the foreground of our feeling as readers. This is a beautiful heart speaking to us of the beautiful world we could and should find, even in the darkness that so often floods the world with fear."

-Gregory David Roberts, bestselling author of Shantaram

"John Shors has written a wonderful novel about two American lives shaped by an encounter with the lives of the Vietnamese people in this present age, decades after that country has faded from the ongoing clamor of news in this country. For that very reason, Shors transcends politics and headlines and finds the timeless and deeply human stories that are the essence of enduring fiction. This is strong, important work from a gifted writer."

-Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Darcy O, January 17, 2010 (view all comments by Darcy O)
Author John Shors brings to life the street children of Vietnam in his poignant novel, "Dragon House." He introduces readers to Iris Rhodes, a young professional from Chicago and daughter of a Vietnam veteran. When Iris' father is dying from cancer, she tells him she will finish his dream of building a center for the street children in Saigon where the children will be safe and go to school. Iris is joined in her mission by Noah, an old schoolmate wounded in the Iraq War.

Shors beautifully describes the Vietnam landscape and its people. His street children characters are filled with hope and cheer. Their plight is so sad, yet they can find joy in just playing on a teeter-totter. Readers learn that young girls living on the street sell fans to earn a meager living; older girls are left with no choice but to sell themselves. A center for girls will change everything for these young Vietnamese girls.

I found "Dragon House" to be an engrossing and deeply satisfying novel. I rooted for the children in all their endeavors; I felt their pain and their joy. I highly recommend "Dragon House" to all readers.
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ccqdesigns, October 23, 2009 (view all comments by ccqdesigns)
I first encountered John Shors when I read his novel Beneath a Marble Sky. This new novel, Dragon House, has stepped up John’s impressive writing skills another notch. Dragon House is a love story; the love of a daughter for her father, a sister for her brother, a grandmother for her granddaughter and soldiers for their country. And it is a story of the courage it takes to follow your heart and protect the ones you love.

The Story: After Iris’ father dies, she decides to go to Vietnam and complete his dream of opening a center for street children there even though he was absent for most of her life and she is still very angry. He was always trying to run from his demons and she felt from her. Iris’ good friend Noah is just home from Iraq and running from demons of his own and agrees to go with Iris. What follows is a painful, slow process of acclimation to a new country, to finding out whom her father really was and if this is really what Iris wants to do. In the process Iris finds Mai and Minh, a brother and sister living under a bridge that are forced to work for an opium addict, Qui and Tam, a grandmother and granddaughter living on the streets and Sahn the beat cop and Vietnam veteran who hates Americans.

My Take: John Shors description of Vietnam, of Saigon and its people brought all my senses alive while reading. I could see and touch and smell the market and the city streets. I could hear the traffic noises and all the scooters zipping past. I could feel the touch of Mai as she brushed up against me and asked if I would like to buy a fan. And my heart went out to all the street children and all the empty stomachs and honest people that try every day to help. And I cried in anger at every crooked official and opium addict and street vendor that expected a bribe. And it brought back all the memories. I have been to these countries, I have seen these children, and I have held their hands and bought their fans and laughed with them and prayed for them. And all I can say is that John Shors has written an amazing book that I highly recommend.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
jaimehuff1, August 29, 2009 (view all comments by jaimehuff1)
How do I write a review about a book that tugged, actually, YANKED at my heart strings as much as this book did and give it the credit that is due? I am not sure but I will do my best.

The children of the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon, Vietnam) are the heart and soul of "Dragon House". Tam, a child who is dying from Leukiemia, and her grandmother Qui beg on the streets just so Tam can have medicine to ease her pain. Mai and Minh held under the "protection" of Loc, an Opium addicted, cruel man.. or I would rather refer to him as a pimp, he may not sell the children's bodies for sex but he pimps them to sell their goods. Minh doesn't speak since Loc beat him for saying the wrong thing and Minh only has one hand. He plays foreigners in games of Connect 4 for money. Mai who is his voice sells fans but mostly helps Minh obtain players.

The key adult players are Iris, whose father an American veteran of the Vietnam war who wasn't around to raise her as he was battling the internal scars from the Vietnam war. When her father died, he left her the center he was building in Vietnam for street children. Noah, a childhood friend of hers who lost the lower portion of his leg in Iraq and who is battling his own scars, joins her at his mother's begging. Thien, Iris' father's assistant, a beautiful Vietnamese woman inside and out, finds beauty in each and everything she can. Then there's Sahn. He is also a survivor of the Vietnam war and has a disdain towards Americans after losing his entire family in the war but as a Police office with failing sight, he was to save the future of Vietnam.

Every single one of these people save each other in more ways then one. They find their futures, their souls, their lives, hope, family and love.


John Shors paints a vivid picture of survival, anger, cruelty, beauty and redemption throughout this entire book. He brings to life the trauma that the children who have to live and survive on the streets of Vietnam. Many of which never get another life off of the streets. Post war Vietnam is not a pretty place, don't ever expect it to be. There are horrific injuries sustained to victims of Agent Orange, street girls become prostitutes, opium addiction, and the same. There are many organizations out there trying to do what they can for the Vietnamese children, one of which is Blue Dragon Children's Children Foundation. (Here's the website: http://www.bdcf.org/)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780451227850
Author:
Shors, John
Publisher:
New American Library
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Vietnam
Subject:
Self-realization
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.24x5.46x.83 in. .75 lbs.
Age Level:
17-17

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Dragon House Used Trade Paper
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages New American Library - English 9780451227850 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Shors's third novel tells an absorbing story weakened by melodrama, sentimentality and exposition. After promising her dying father, a Vietnam War veteran, to take care of his shelter for street children in Ho Chi Minh City, American writer Iris agrees to take along her childhood friend Noah, now a depressed veteran who lost his leg in Iraq. In Vietnam, they find the shelter has drawn an appealing cast of Americans and Vietnamese, all seeking escape and salvation, including two children exploited by a brutal drug addict, and an impoverished old woman whose granddaughter is dying of cancer. Though interesting, most characters never overcome Shors's insistence on telling, rather than showing, their inner lives ('he hurt and hated so much'). Melodrama and mawkish foreshadowing ('I'm taking the risks... and everything's going to be just the way it was meant to be') will prove familiar to anyone who's watched a TV movie. Though frustrating, this is the kind of novel (provocative, polarizing, exotic) that should stir book group discussion." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Set in modern-day Vietnam, DRAGON HOUSE tells the tale of Iris and Noah-two Americans, who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. Irish and Noah find themselves reborn in an exotic land filled with corruption and chaos, sacrifice and beauty. Inspired by the street children she meets, Iris walks in the footsteps of her father, a man whom Vietnam both shattered and saved. Meanwhile, Noah slowly rediscovers himself through the eyes of an unexpected companion. Resounding with the powerful themes of suffering, sacrifice, friendship, and love, DRAGON HOUSE brings together East and West, war and peace; and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.
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