Today, I’m participating in TLC Book Tours’ tour for Khanh Ha’s Flesh!
About Khanh Ha:
Khanh Ha was born in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam. During his teen years he began writing short stories which won him several awards in the Vietnamese adolescent magazines. He graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Flesh is his first novel.
The setting is Tonkin (northern Vietnam) at the turn of the 20th century. A boy, Tai, witnesses the beheading of his father, a notorious bandit, and sets out to recover his head and then to find the man who betrayed his father to the authorities. On this quest, Tai’s entire world will shift.
Flesh takes the reader into dark and delightful places in the human condition, places where allies are not always your friends, true love hurts, and your worst enemy may bring you the most comfort. In that emotionally harrowing world, Tai must learn to deal with new responsibilities in his life while at the same time acknowledge his bond, and his resemblance, to a man he barely knew—his father. Through this story of revenge is woven another story, one of love, but love purchased with the blood of murders Tai commits. A coming-of-age story, but also a love story, the sensuality of the author’s writing style belies the sometimes brutal world he depicts.
Khanh Ha’s Flesh starts off gory – with a beheading. Following closely on its heels is a smallpox plague, and more death. Tai is only a boy when he witnesses the first and survives the second. Told in a spare yet emotional voice, Flesh then takes us along as Tai grows up and does everything he can to make sure his father’s death is avenged and both father and brother are buried well.
This is a poor Vietnam, and its people do whatever they can to survive, including Tai. Along his journey, he recovers his father’s skull, packs opium pipes for his employers, meets a girl, and finds out that he really didn’t know his father as much as he thought. He does more than he thinks he can, less than he sometimes should, and is generally a young man growing into the world around him.
Read Flesh to lose yourself in a vividly-described colonial Vietnam, with its poverty and hopelessness, its people’s industrious nature at work to better their lives and the lives of those dear to them, all wrapped up in beautiful prose.
drey’s rating: Pick it up!
Have you read Flesh? What did you think? And if not, read on to win your very own copy!
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of Flesh for you, if you live in the US or Canada. To enter, fill out the form below before July 12th. Good luck!