She Weeps Each Time You're Born

She Weeps Each Time You're Born

3.71 (646 ratings by Goodreads)
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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."
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 152 x 218 x 28mm | 454g
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0307911772
  • 9780307911773
  • 1,295,727

Review quote

"Fascinating . . . deeply affecting.""--New York Times Book Review
""Barry's first novel . . . sympathetically and poetically chronicles the violent and mournful history of Vietnam, through the eyes and ears of a mystical girl named Rabbit . . . . possesses the poetic heft of Jayne Anne Phillips's 'Lark and Termite' and a rawness that is somehow beautiful, as in Tim O'Brien's 'The Things They Carried.' I can think of no other recent novel that deals with war quite as poetically and as sympathetically as this first novel.""--The Boston Globe
""A strange and unadorned, inspired sort of beautiful . . . . The great beauty of Quan Barry's novel is in its transcendence of this impulse, its attention to all the stories, whose sum is not darkness but light, not death but life."--"Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Barry's absorbing debut paints a vivid, complex portrait of a land and an era that often elude American understanding.""--Marie Claire
"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, "starred review
""Mesmerizing . . . . beautiful, transporting."" --Kirkus Reviews, " starred review
"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 "
"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, National Book Award-winning author of "Salvage the Bones "
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About Quan Barry

Born in Saigon and raised on Boston s north shore, Quan Barry is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Madison and the author of four poetry books; her third book, "Water Puppets," won the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in such publications as "Ms." and "The New Yorker." Barry lives in Wisconsin."
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Rating details

646 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 25% (159)
4 39% (250)
3 23% (148)
2 10% (67)
1 3% (22)
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