12 August 2022

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea and Other Stories by Khanh Ha Guest Review!

 

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

Publisher:  Eastover Press LLC (June 7, 2022)
Category: Short Stories, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Vietnam
Tour dates: July 25-August 31, 2022
ISBN:  978-1958094020
Available in Print and ebook, 208 pages

  All the Rivers Flow into the Sea

Description All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

From Vietnam to America, this story collection, jewel-like, evocative, and layered, brings to readers a unique sense of love and passion alongside tragedy and darker themes of peril. The titular story features a love affair between an unlikely duo pushing against barely surmountable cultural barriers. In “The Yin-Yang Market,” magical realism and the beauty of innocence abounds in deep dark places, teeming with life and danger. “A Mute Girl’s Yarn” tells a magical coming-of-age story like sketches in a child’s fairy book.

Bringing together the damned, the unfit, the brave who succumb to the call of fate, All the Rivers Flow Into the Sea is a great journey where redemption and human goodness arise out of violence and beauty to become part of an essential mercy.

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea was selected as a winner of the 2021 EastOver Prize for Fiction and has received much advanced praise.

Excerpt All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

She didn’t know the time when she slid down from her cot, quietly unlatched the door, and walked out into the garden. The milky light of a full moon glowed in every corner, and the night wasn’t black but blue, bluer than indigo. The trees lay a smooth shade around the house. Cobblestones crunched underfoot. Moss grew on the stucco walls, the green discolored with the years.

She walked along the edge of the garden, where bamboo and screw pines grew thick and the nightshade let no light through. Walking so close to them, she heard the squeaking of bamboo trunks, the murmur of leaves. From inside the house came a groan, clear in the stillness.

In the rock basin, the water seemed blacker than ever beneath the canopy of the milk apple. A paper lantern hung on a limb of the grapefruit tree. A frail scent of grapefruit blossoms as she passed under. The night lit like a yellow shawl made of something so filmy that a touch would make it disappear. In the stillness she felt transparent. No bone, no flesh, no identity. Light shone through, scents of fragrant pines, of the brown earth, acrid and old.

She walked back to the courtyard and saw Jonathan standing by the rock island under the dark parasol of the milk apple. His shirt was the only white.

“Your father,” he said to her, “had some pain again tonight.”

She looked at him. “I thought you’d be sound asleep tonight.”

“The mosquitoes kept me awake.”

“Really? I thought it was my father’s moaning.”

He laughed softly. “That too.”

“I gave him a hot water bottle to calm it.”

“Phuong, he must see a doctor tomorrow. I’ll go with you.”

“You don’t have to.”

“That’s in Hue, isn’t it?”

“Yes. A long way. When are you going back to America?”

“In a few days, but I can delay it.” A scent trailed in the air. He breathed in deeply. “Where’s that scent coming from?”

She pointed toward a thicket of shrubs in a corner. “The Chinese call it Yeh-lai-hsiang, night fragrance.”

“Such a lovely scent.”

She brushed her hair with her fingers. “Will you come back?”

“I don’t want to leave at all.”

She thought for a moment. Perhaps in love there’s no coming or going.

Review All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

'All The Rivers Flow Into The Sea,' took me by surprise. I was not expecting to be so compelled by a book about a subject that I don't often hear about. Khanh Ha is a spectacular writer! Throughout this collection of short stories, I found myself laughing, crying, and feeling heartsick for the characters—sometimes all three at once!

Every story is different, but each one revolves around the Vietnam war in some way. From a story about a young Vietnamese/American man who returns to the country he was born in to write his thesis, to the story of a young couple from different worlds who only want to be together—this collection is bound to have a story or two for everyone.

My personal favorite, 'The Girl On The Bridge,' is about a young man in North Vietnam who is traveling home with his friend when the bridge that they are on is bombed by American jets. The young man gets pinned under a top brace from the bridge and, although people are nearby to help, they must send for equipment to rescue him. The man sends his friend home, for fear that it isn't safe to stand around, and prepares to wait while experiencing extreme pain. The only thing to distract him from his pain is a young woman who is volunteering as a nurse. She talks to him about his childhood and her own life as she keeps him company.

These types of looks into life in Vietnam during extraordinary circumstances are what make this collection really powerful. The normalcy of everyday life having to continue while American's were attacking the country reads as harrowing in this book as it must have been in real life.

'All The Rivers Flow Into The Sea,' is well worth the read for any literature lover! Khanh Ha really is an master artist in short story writing!

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

About Khanh Ha

Multi award winning author, Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh, The Demon Who Peddled Longing, and Mrs. Rossi’s Dream. He is a seven-time Pushcart nominee, finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize, Many Voices Project, Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and The University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize. He is the recipient of the Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, the Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction, The Orison Anthology Award for Fiction, The James Knudsen Prize for Fiction, The C&R Press Fiction Prize, and The EastOver Fiction Prize.

Mrs. Rossi’s Dream was named Best New Book by Booklist and a 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIES Silver Winner and Bronze Winner. All the Rivers Flow into the Sea & Other Stories has already won the EastOver Fiction Prize.

Website: http://www.authorkhanhha.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KhanhHa69784776
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkhanhha

Giveaway All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

This giveaway is for 3 print copies and is open to the U.S. only. This giveaway ends on Aug 27, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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  All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

2 comments:

  1. I am so glad Laura snjoyed All Rivers Flow Into the Sea! Thanks so much for hosting!

    ReplyDelete

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