Synopses & Reviews
With his immensely imaginative and gifted voice, Nam Le brings us a haunting collection of stories that resonate like those of JD Salinger, ZZ Packer, and Canada's own Vincent Lam.
A stunningly inventive fiction debut: stories that take us from the slums of Colombia to the streets of Tehran; from New York City to Iowa City; from a fishing village in Australia to a floundering vessel in the South China Sea, in a masterful display of literary virtuosity and feeling.
In the magnificent opening story, a young writer is urged by his friends to mine his father's experiences in Vietnam-and what seems at first a satire of turning one's life into literary commerce becomes a transcendent exploration of the ties between father and son. Cartagena provides a visceral glimpse of life in Colombia as a fourteen-year-old hit man faces the ultimate test. In Meeting Elise an aging New York painter mourns his body's decline as he prepares to meet his daughter on the eve of her Carnegie Hall debut. The title story returns us to Vietnam, to a fishing trawler crowded with refugees, where a young woman's bond with a mother and her small son forces both women to a harrowing decision.
Adam Haslett praises Nam Le for the kind of courage and directness it takes most writers years to achieve. Charles D'Ambrosio says, The Boat nails our collective now with an urgency and relevance that feel visionary.