The Boat

The Boat

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Nam Le

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  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 18mm | 207g
  • Publication date: 19 February 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 1847671616
  • ISBN 13: 9781847671615
  • Edition statement: Main
  • Sales rank: 2,981

Product description

A dazzling, emotionally riveting debut collection: the seven stories in Nam Le's The Boat take us across the globe as he enters the hearts and minds of characters from all over the world. Whether Nam Le is conjuring the story of 14-year-old Juan, a hit man in Colombia; or an aging painter mourning the death of his much-younger lover; or a young refugee fleeing Vietnam, crammed in the ship's hold with 200 others, the result is unexpectedly moving and powerful. This is an extraordinary work of fiction that takes us to the heart of what it means to be human, and announces a writer of astonishing talent.

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Author information

Nam Le was born in Vietnam and raised in Australia. He has received the Pushcart Prize, the Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, and fellowships from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Phillips Exeter Academy. His fiction has been appeared in venues including Best Australian Stories, Best New American Voices, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Zoetrope, Conjunctions, A Public Space, and NPR's Selected Shorts.

Customer reviews

By Georgia-Lee 01 Sep 2010 5

Don't let this colourful cover fool you, this book contains some heavy themes - but the writing is wonderful, the characters are believable and the collection of these impressive stories is a feast for any hungry mind. Nam Le writes in a way that compells and in The Boat he proves that he can write for just about anybody; you can read this book and ponder for hours over the meaning and the uses of language and the sheer brilliance of one or two of these stories, or you can just read it for the sake of reading. Deep reading or reading for plain enjoyment, the Boat is good for both. Le blends a level of fiction and a level of social realism together really well, and while not autobiographical, you can look at The Boat from the perspective of a cross-cultural writer making an impression of the many spheres of influence he is involved with.

By Joel Bateman 10 Jan 2010 5

A collection of short stories from a young writer who grew up in Australia, and currently works in the US. I know many people don't like short stories these days, but this collection is well worth your time. In each of the stories, Le adopts a different voice, a different tone, and creates miniature worlds and stories. And all of them are wonderful. Unlike some short story collections, in which every story is clearly the work of one person, The Boat shows a quite remarkable range for one writer. There's stories about Columbian child assassins, women in Iran, schoolchildren in Hiroshima just before the bomb. Amongst my favourites were the autobiographical-seeming â?~Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Commitment and Sacrifice' (about a young Vietnamese writer struggling with writers' block in his creative-writing course, and his relationship with his father) and the coming-of-age-in-a-small-Australian-town story â?~Halflead Bay' (which is also the longest entry here, at around 80 pages), but the rest were just as good. My copy of â?~The Boat' comes with three pages of rave reviews, and for once these are earned. Certainly a writer to keep an eye on.

Review quote

* A breathtakingly assured collection of stories-powerful, moving, unsparingly honest-exhibiting a narrative confidence and range that is as remarkable as it is mature. A tremendous debut. -- William Boyd * A promising and fiercely talented writer Telegraph * The short story collection is constantly on the endangered list, but this stunning collection...shows that it is alive and in the best of health. The Times * An assured and tremendously readable collection from a young writer with rare scope and strength. Observer * These are people on the edge, and Nam's prose captures their desperation...bold and worthwhile. Memoirists should stick to what they know; the point of literature is to expand the limits of the world. -- Aravind Adiga Financial Times * Le has the ability to hit notes of real emotional intensity. -- Hari Kunzru Scotsman * Each voice is achingly present and authentic ... ['Halflead Bay'] is as good as anything Tim Winton has produced about Australian society. Guardian * Wonderful stories that snarl and pant across our crazed world ... an extraordinary performance by a fine new talent. Nam Le is a heartbreaker, not easily forgotten. -- Junot Diaz * The Boat is tremendous, challenging and ambitious, worthy of the same shelf that holds Dubliners and The Things They Carried-like those works, it asks to be read as a whole and taken seriously as a book... this book nails our collective now, our kairos, with an urgency and relevance that feels visionary. Charles D'Ambrosio * From the very first page of The Boat, Nam Le's extraordinary talent, range of vision, and moral courage make the reader sit up and take notice. By the last page, one feels a kind of fervent gratitude-rare enough these days-for having been introduced to a young writer whose mark on the literary world, so freshly made, will only grow deeper in the years to come. John Burnham Schwartz * Nam Le writes with a rare blend of courage and beauty ... Book your passage on The Boat. You will not forget the people you meet on the voyage. Chris Offutt * The Boat is an impressive feat, and the debut of a very talented writer. Adam Haslett * I was impressed and deeply moved by the many worlds to which this brilliant young writer transported me. A terrific book. Margot Livesey * A superb collection, brimming with humour and compassion. -- Ian Critchley Daily Telegraph * Le's book takes a playful swipe at the good intentions of liberal America. Independent