Mãn, Kim Thúy

“Maman and I don’t look like one another. She is short, I am tall…. She has a hole in her calf and I have a hole in my heart.”



Bless you, Kim Thúy, for your beautiful and short books.

I wish my French was better because if Thúy’s prose is this pretty in English, it must be absolutely gorgeous in its original French. And though this book is an optimal length for a quick Bookstravaganza read, I wish I could have taken more time to pause over each of this book’s vignettes. Thúy’s style is unlike anyone else’s I’ve read. (If you haven’t read her book Ru, please do that now. Stop reading this. Read Ru.) Pieces of this story come through the small details of its characters or its short moments. Food–and all its tastes and scents and sizzles–carries the weight of memory in this book with Thúy describing the meals Mãn prepares in detail, making me wish I could join her at the table. I’d recommend reading this book with a snack. Or go out for a nice Vietnamese dinner with a friend afterword. It is necessary to not only properly pair your food with a good wine, but also good lit.

A common theme has emerged between the two Canadian books that I’ve read so far for Bookstravaganza: they both include adultery. Whatever happened to good ol’ Canadian tales of couples suffering through their loveless marriages, their relationships only growing more cold with the season? We’ve left our farms and so now we must leave our marriages–is that what you’re telling me, Modern CanLit?

Books read: 2


2 responses to “Mãn, Kim Thúy

  1. You know, I didn’t like Man as much as I thought I would, given the hype. Everyone I know was in love with it, like you are. I *liked* it but it didn’t blow me away. Not sure why. Nothing I can articulate. But everyone also says Ru is better, so I think I’ll give it a shot. I’m just not gonna start it right now, because I have three other books on the go 🙂

    We’ve left the farm – haha I love that. Don’t worry, you’ll get your years of resentment and harsh landscapes fix with The Stone Angel!!

    • I’d say I’m more in love with Thúy’s style than this book particularly. Ru is in many ways better, as I don’t believe Mãn will stay with me as long. I don’t look at a blue sky the same way since reading Ru, still, so I do hope you give it a shot one day!

      Oh yay, I’m excited! It’s been a while since I’ve experienced some good Classic CanLit!

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