A huge thanks to @4thestatebooks for the advanced proof copy and to @cecilepin for writing such an important and provoking book.
It’s a story about a family that leave Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam war hoping to start a new life in America. As vulnerable refugees/immigrants, things don’t go to plan and some of the family end up in Thatcher’s Britain, not exactly a welcoming place for immigrants.
This book is emotional from the beginning, the night before departure the family have their last supper, the routine of family life being used to ground and reassure the children was heartbreaking. It is unusual for a book to generate such an immediate emotional response from me but within pages I was completely emotionally invested in this family. Perhaps it is down to the obvious parallels to the doomed Channel crossings we so regularly hear about, this made me consider the reality and real human cost of that. By that I mean that we know there is human life lost but in a news report it is not brought to life. In this book I started to contemplate the back stories of all of the lives lost in this way, and that is what brilliant fiction is for me. Something that transcends the words on the page and makes you question and process the world around you.
It’s a book about refugees and immigrants in the 1970’s, it’s a book about refugees and immigrants now.
Thankfully despite the trauma and heartache it’s a book of hope!
Themes - intergenerational trauma, sexual abuse, the experience of refugees how siblings in these families have to switch to parental roles.