Friday, February 27, 2015

"The Boat" by Nam Le


I picked this book up second hand from Adelaide's PopUp Bookshop, and am reading it as part of the Aussie Author Challenge. The book has a striking black and white cover design that caught my eye, then from the reviews on the back I thought it sounded like a really well written and powerful collection of short stories that I couldn't walk away from, even though I don't generally like short stories. 

Started reading: 28th February 2015
Finished: 22nd March 2015

My score: 8/10

I'd say the writing in this book is very powerful. The author can really bring to life environments, characters and emotions in a great variety of stories. Most of them were pretty sad/tragic spotlights on the struggles of desperate people, whether they were refugees on boats in horrific conditions, barely hanging on to hope, or teenage Colombians trying to protect their family and friends while being caught in a downward spiral of drugs and murder. The first, second and last stories had the most impact on me, and will be hard to forget. Makes you feel lucky to be born in a country and environment where you aren't faced with the desperate choices these people are faced with, and reinforces how wrong our current policy against asylum seekers is. However, I still don't really like short stories, as just as you start to get into them and feel a connection with a character, that story ends. If I liked short stories I probably would have rated this book even higher, but as I don't like short stories I would rather have had those 3 chapters I most connected with expanded on, rather than reading the other 4 stories.

Aussie Author Challenge stats: Male author, New to me, Genre: short stories

1 comment:

  1. Agree short stories have their time and place, and they could never entirely replace full length works. You have to be in the right mood to read them, for example for me the more happy/life affirming variety work well as a quick read before bed.