You will not soon forget this slim, quietly devastating novel, which relays the aftermath for three orphans working in a hospital in rural Laos during the American bombing campaign. Spare, beautiful writing about forever-altered lives. Recommended By Lori M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From award-winning author Paul Yoon comes a "spellbinding" (The Washington Post) novel about three kids orphaned in 1960s Laos — and how their destinies are entwined across decades, anointed by Hernan Diaz as "one of those rare novels that stays with us to become a standard with which we measure other books."
Alisak, Prany, and Noi — three orphans united by devastating loss — must do what is necessary to survive the perilous landscape of 1960s Laos. When they take shelter in a bombed out field hospital, they meet Vang, a doctor dedicated to helping the wounded at all costs. Soon the teens are serving as motorcycle couriers, delicately navigating their bikes across the fields filled with unexploded bombs, beneath the indiscriminate barrage from the sky.
In a world where the landscape and the roads have turned into an ocean of bombs, we follow their grueling days of rescuing civilians and searching for medical supplies, until Vang secures their evacuation on the last helicopters leaving the country. It's a move with irrevocable consequences — and sets them on disparate and treacherous paths across the world.
Spanning decades, this "richly layered" (The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice) book weaves together storylines laced with beauty and cruelty. Paul Yoon's "greatest skill lies in crafting subtle moments that underline the strange and specific sadness inherent to trauma" (Time) and this book is a breathtaking historical feat and a fierce study of the powers of hope, perseverance, and grace.
"Yoon's imaginative prose and affection for his characters make the story larger than a look at the ways people survive....Another masterpiece in miniature about the unpredictable directions a life can take." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Yoon (Snow Hunters), ever the elegant and penetrating writer, coolly delivers a devastating sense of what it's like to be in the midst of war." Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Yoon again exemplifies his unparalleled ability to create a quietly spectacular narrative that reveals the unfathomable worst and unwavering best of humanity; the result here provides mesmerizing gratification." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Spellbinding...With his panoramic vision of the displacements of war, Yoon reminds us of the people never considered or accounted for in the halls of power." The Washington Post
"[Yoon] writes with a soft, measured hand. He calmly builds memorable scenes even when events turn violent." Associated Press
"Artfully orchestrated narrative...restraint and elegance....This unique work of historical fiction could not be more timely, or more timeless." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"If you truly believe in the transformative power of literature then you must read this book. Run Me to Earth is a genuine masterpiece; fierce, tender, wise, earth-shattering, pulsating with love and hope." Miriam Toews, author of Women Talking
"With Run Me to Earth, Paul Yoon proves, yet again, that he is a master at finding depth of emotion in formal restraint and discovering the timeless core in the most urgent issues of our day. This is one of those rare novels that stays with us to become, over the years, a standard with which we measure other books." Hernan Diaz, author of In the Distance, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
"Yoon has the ability to conjure up an entire world in a phrase." Asian Review of Books
"Richly layered....Throughout the novel, beauty and violence coexist in a universe that seems by turns cruel and wondrous....Yoon has stitched an intense meditation on the devastating nature of war and displacement." New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
About the Author
Paul Yoon is the author of two story collections, Once the Shore, which was a New York Times Notable Book, and The Mountain, which was a NPR Best Book of the Year. His novel Snow Hunters won the Young Lions Fiction Award. A recipient of fellowships from the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars and the National Endowment for the Arts, he lives in Sanford, Florida, with his wife, the fiction writer Laura van den Berg, and their dog, Oscar.