Aussie Author Challenge Book Reviews

Book Review: The Boat

…by Nam Le.

‘The Boat’ is a collection of 7 short stories of individuals across the globe. The author is a Vietnamese-born Australian who also spends his time in America. His stories are not just of Vietnamese or Australians but rather of different ethnic groups across different countries. There is the struggling author and his difficult relationship with his Vietnamese father; a hitman in Colombia who is just a teenager and his struggles with having to kill his friend; an aging painter and his relationship with an estranged daughter; the young Aussie teenager at Halfhead Bay; the American woman struggling with her friendship in Iran; and finally, a group of Vietnamese people on The Boat escaping war-torn Vietnam and the trials and tribulations faced by one young girl estranged from her family.

The stories all revolve around characters facing some kind of pressure in their lives and attempting to deal with these whilst trying to attain some form of control. Two stories that stood out for me were ‘Cartagena’ and ‘The Boat’. The former is the one with the teenage hitman in Colombia and the emotions and struggles kept me on edge all the way through. The latter, which is the last story in the book, is about the “boat people” escaping Vietnam and looking for better lives but at the same time, taking extreme measures to get there. In many ways, it was heart-wrenching. Especially in this day when there is a big deal being made about people arriving on Australian shores by boat, it gives us an insight into the difficulties faced to get here.

There were other stories though that didn’t grip me as much…they seemed to have great beginnings but faltered somewhere. I think it was more about the characters than the plots themselves.

All in all, a decent read.

My rating:

***This has been reviewed as part of the 2011 Aussie Author Challenge***
Until next time,
Cheers!!!

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  • Priyanka Victor
    6 November 2011 at 7:57 am

    A motley collection, it sounds like. Maybe for a bored, rainy afternoon… Can I get an e-book?

  • Priyanka Victor
    6 November 2011 at 7:57 am

    A motley collection, it sounds like. Maybe for a bored, rainy afternoon… Can I get an e-book?

  • Psych Babbler
    6 November 2011 at 8:42 am

    I’m sure there is an e-book available somewhere from some store PeeVee…haven’t personally looked for one as I don’t read e-books.

  • Psych Babbler
    6 November 2011 at 8:42 am

    I’m sure there is an e-book available somewhere from some store PeeVee…haven’t personally looked for one as I don’t read e-books.

  • Vishnu
    6 November 2011 at 8:05 pm

    PB, there’s only 3 kind of boat immigrants in the world – the infamous FOB Fresh off the boat which mean immigrants who just landed. the little less known SOB or still on the boat. and many of my friends and colleagues – NKTCB Never Knew They Came on a Boat and continue to live in their new land like they are still living in their homeland.

  • Vishnu
    6 November 2011 at 8:05 pm

    PB, there’s only 3 kind of boat immigrants in the world – the infamous FOB Fresh off the boat which mean immigrants who just landed. the little less known SOB or still on the boat. and many of my friends and colleagues – NKTCB Never Knew They Came on a Boat and continue to live in their new land like they are still living in their homeland.

  • Psych Babbler
    6 November 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Lol Vishnu…I’ve heard of FOB but I must say, NKTCB sound the funniest! πŸ˜› I think I know people like that…and they are annoying! πŸ˜›

  • Psych Babbler
    6 November 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Lol Vishnu…I’ve heard of FOB but I must say, NKTCB sound the funniest! πŸ˜› I think I know people like that…and they are annoying! πŸ˜›

  • Vishnu
    7 November 2011 at 12:07 am

    i don’t know if that word exists – i just made it up. they don’t annoy me – i think that might be me! lolΒ 

  • Vishnu
    7 November 2011 at 12:07 am

    i don’t know if that word exists – i just made it up. they don’t annoy me – i think that might be me! lolΒ 

  • Psych Babbler
    7 November 2011 at 5:55 am

    I figured you might have made it up…didn’t realise though that you were referring to yourself…

  • Psych Babbler
    7 November 2011 at 5:55 am

    I figured you might have made it up…didn’t realise though that you were referring to yourself…

  • Bikram
    7 November 2011 at 9:57 am

    Hmmm thanks for all the info .. πŸ™‚ seems to be a good book

  • Bikram
    7 November 2011 at 9:57 am

    Hmmm thanks for all the info .. πŸ™‚ seems to be a good book

  • Psych Babbler
    8 November 2011 at 4:12 am

    It’s a pretty decent read Bikram, and nice to see an author being able to get into the mindset of different ethnic groups…

  • Psych Babbler
    8 November 2011 at 4:12 am

    It’s a pretty decent read Bikram, and nice to see an author being able to get into the mindset of different ethnic groups…