The Boat

The Boat

3.58 (4,029 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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With his immensely imaginative and gifted voice, Nam Le brings us a haunting collection of stories that resonate like those of JD Salinger, ZZ Packer, and Canada’s own Vincent Lam.

A stunningly inventive fiction debut: stories that take us from the slums of Colombia to the streets of Tehran; from New York City to Iowa City; from a fishing village in Australia to a floundering vessel in the South China Sea, in a masterful display of literary virtuosity and feeling.

In the magnificent opening story, a young writer is urged by his friends to mine his father’s experiences in Vietnam–and what seems at first a satire of turning one’s life into literary commerce becomes a transcendent exploration of the ties between father and son. “Cartagena” provides a visceral glimpse of life in Colombia as a fourteen-year-old hit man faces the ultimate test. In “Meeting Elise” an aging New York painter mourns his body’s decline as he prepares to meet his daughter on the eve of her Carnegie Hall debut. The title story returns us to Vietnam, to a fishing trawler crowded with refugees, where a young woman’s bond with a mother and her small son forces both women to a harrowing decision.

Adam Haslett praises Nam Le for “the kind of courage and directness it takes most writers years to achieve.” Charles D’Ambrosio says, “The Boat nails our collective now with an urgency and relevance that feel visionary.”

From the Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 129.54 x 200.66 x 22.86mm | 281.23g
  • English
  • 0385665571
  • 9780385665575

Review quote

“Wonderful . . . an extraordinary performance. Nam Le is a heartbreaker, not easily forgotten.”
– Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

“A wild ride across cultures, continents, and experience. . . . On the evidence of his debut, there’s nothing Nam Le can’t do.”
–The Gazette (Montreal)

“Nam Le is extraordinary. . . . The Boat will be read for as long as people read books. Its vision and its power are timeless.”
–Mary Gaitskill

“Remarkable . . . Astonishing. . . . [Le’s] sympathy for his characters and his ability to write with both lyricism and emotional urgency lend his portraits enormous visceral power.”
–The New York Times

“An extraordinarily accomplished and sophisticated writer. . . . Moving and unforgettable.”
– San Francisco Chronicle

From the Hardcover edition.
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About Nam Le

Nam Le was born in Vietnam and raised in Australia. He has received the Pushcart Prize, the Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, fellowships from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of East Anglia and, most recently, was named to the “5 Under 35” list of young fiction writers by The National Book Foundation. He is the fiction editor of the Harvard Review.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Rating details

4,029 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 18% (738)
4 37% (1,503)
3 32% (1,293)
2 10% (387)
1 3% (108)
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