Cecile Pin

Teoksen Wandering Souls tekijä

1 Work 184 jäsentä 22 arvostelua

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Wandering Souls (2023) 184 kappaletta

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Cecile Pin grew up in Paris and New York City. She moved to London at eighteen to study philosophy at University College London and received an MA at King's College London. She writes for Bad Form Review, was long-listed for their Young Writers' Prize, and is a 2021 London Writers Award winner. Wandering Souls is her first novel.



A book intended to highlight the traumas of the Vietnamese boat diaspora at the end of the war in the 1970s.
Written by a young author who is herself a descendant of that outflow, she delivers a compelling and moving tale. Many died, brutally. Many suffered, physically and sexually, at the hand of bands of pirates. Many who managed to get resettled in third countries arrived as "damage goods".
I was impressed with the balance between pathos and hope. A great book that should be widely read.… (lisätietoja)
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mbmackay | 21 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 14, 2024 |
4.5 stars. The way Pin writes is lyrical and engaging. I want to take little pieces of her sentences and preserve them outside the context of this book, because as beautiful as her writing is, the story is traumatizing. I was already crying by chapter 5. I don't really know why I expected otherwise. It is a story of loss, that's clear from the synopsis. I think maybe I'm used to hearing about that loss in a more clinical way. The duality of the beauty of the prose and the awfulness of the history feels like a gut punch. Or maybe it's how tenderly the characters are treated, despite what they go through. The soft moments of genuine human connection in the worst of places or in the worst of moments.

The last part, when the author is describing Anh's life in the 2000's, feels clunkier than the rest. I think it's the shifting perspectives; we now know who the unseen narrator telling the story is and, while it's interesting to connect where she is in the story to what her mother is going through, I feel like that feels a bit more forced than the rest of the novel and that took me out of it a bit.
… (lisätietoja)
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abcace | 21 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 11, 2024 |
A story of Vietnamese boat people as they were named here, and the struggles and effect migrating has on their lives when escaping a communist regime looking for a better or safer life. We get the stories of journeys that went wrong - Koh Kra where a group of fishermen captured the boat, raped the women repeatedly and murdered the boys and men. Or closer to home, the container that was opened only to find all the people in it dead and, to add insult to injury, they were identified as Chinese not Vietnamese.

The family that we follow travels in two groups and only one group survives. Sixteen year old Anh and her brothers Manh and Thanh. Her parents and three other siblings died on their crossing and were washed up near Hong Kong weeks later.

After a series of camps in both Hong Kong and here in the UK, they are given a flat in Catford to start their new lives, but what lives. Anh works in a clothing factory, Minh leaves school at sixteen and struggles to find work and Thanh, being younger, studies. As it says so often in the book, this isn't what their parents wished for.

The wandering souls are Anh and her brothers but also the souls of her family who died as they were not buried at home which means that their souls continue to wander, particularly Dao their youngest brother who is restless making for a haunting and haunted story.

Interwoven throughout the narrative are different voices: those of officials through letters such as Thatcher's public appearance of welcoming the Vietnamese whilst privately fighting the policy, Dao and an unnamed narrator who is revealed at the end. I read somewhere recently that it is the children of immigrants who tell the stories in search of their identity and so it is here.

You might call this book a novella. It is short and quick to read as so many of the chapters are not at all long. It is also clear and precise, little waffle, and quite unemotional for what is a very emotional story. The end is uplifting because it is a story of people who have learnt to live again and to find joy in their lives.

We tell ourselves stories to live
Joan Didion The White Album and p234
… (lisätietoja)
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allthegoodbooks | 21 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 13, 2024 |
I thought this fictionalization of the immigrant experience of Vietnamese refugees was fantastic. It left me with a lot to ponder about the hidden stories people don't tell and the reasons why we construct narratives around the past.
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fuzzy_patters | 21 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 14, 2023 |




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