Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fresh Ink: Spotlight on Debut Books of All Kinds
Quan Barry’s luminous fiction debut brings us the tumultuous history of modern Vietnam as experienced by a young girl born under mysterious circumstances a few years before the country’s reunification, a child gifted with the otherworldly ability to hear the voices of the dead.

At the peak of the war in Vietnam, a baby girl is born along the Song Ma River on the night of the full moon. This is Rabbit, who will journey away from her destroyed village with a makeshift family thrown together by war. Here is a Vietnam we’ve never encountered before: through Rabbit’s inexplicable but radiant intuition, we are privy to an intimate version of history, from the days of French Indochina and the World War II rubber plantations through the chaos of postwar reunification. With its use of magical realism—Rabbit’s ability to “hear” the dead—the novel reconstructs a turbulent historical period through a painterly human lens. This is the moving story of one woman’s struggle to unearth the true history of Vietnam while simultaneously carving out a place for herself within it.

An Expansive View Of Vietnam In 'She Weeps Each Time You're Born'

Write Start: Quan Barry on Crafting a Story ‘In Media Res’

Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb

 Praise for the book:
 “Quan Barry’s She Weeps Each Time You’re Born is lyrical, luminous, and suspenseful all at once. Rabbit’s experience of wartime and reconciliation in Vietnam is one that I haven’t yet encountered in fiction, and it is rendered with shocking clarity and pathos on the page. Like Rabbit’s Goddess of Mercy, who has many manifestations, this is a Vietnam of myriad faces, myriad aspects, beautiful and terrible all at once.”  ~Jesmyn Ward,  author of Salvage the Bones

“Blurring boundaries between history and invention, life and death....award-winning poet Barry’s first novel is fierce, stunning, and devastating. Readers haunted by...Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life, and Tan Twan Eng’s The Gift of Rain will revel in it.” ~Library Journal

“Barry’s fiction debut weaves a chronicle of life in pre- and postwar Vietnam within the mystical and turbulent journey of the novel’s protagonist, Rabbit…[whose] tale is deepened by her unique ability to hear the voices of the dead. From these voices emerges a rich tapestry of stories… Barry’s rich narrative entwines one personal tale with an evocative and haunting exploration of Vietnam’s painful past.” ~Booklist

“If you've read such classic American treatments of the soldier's experience in Vietnam as Dispatches and The Things They Carried, then you might discover in She Weeps Each Time You're Born, as I did, a long-desired and indispensable companion narrative. Rabbit, the novel's young Vietnamese hero, suggests that there are two types of stories: ‘stories the world is eager to bring into the light’ and ‘stories it doesn't want told.’ In these magnificent pages, Quan Barry permeates the one with the other until you can hardly tell the light from the shadow, because every last grain of it shines before your eyes. With a deep sensory intelligence that grounds the characters in their landscape and a prose style that elevates their lives into myth, this is not only a good or moving or surprising book but an essential one.” —Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

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