It has been another busy week. Make that one busy MONTH (May) and June doesn’t seem to be slowing down either. The one good thing I’m looking forward to is this coming Long Weekend which is going to be extra long for me since I’m taking a day off work too. We’ll be going away for 4-5 days, can’t wait!
So, yesterday, I fit in a Short Story with a BIG title:
Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice by Nam Le (source: Netgalley)
Description from Penguin’s site:
A young Vietnamese-Australian named Nam, in his final year at the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is trying to find his voice on the page. When his father, a man with a painful past, comes to visit, Nam’s writing and sense of self are both deeply changed.
Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice is a deeply moving story of identity, family and the wellsprings of creativity, from Nam Le’s multi-award-winning collection The Boat.
I have to say that when I first heard Penguin was coming out with these ‘Shorts’, I wasn’t really impressed. I was never a novella / short stories sort of person but when I saw Nam Le’s above story available on netgalley, I couldn’t help myself. I’ve been wanting to read his ‘The Boat’ and just never got around to it and this short story definitely whet my appetite. My interest, of course, lies in the basis of a second generation Asian background living in Australia. I’m really first generation but since I’ve been here since I was 15, I’m more like second generation however my husband was born in a refugee camp in Thailand – parents running from the Vietnam war – and arrived on Australian soil, by plane, when he was barely 3 months old. So, you can see exactly why I’m interested.
Not only was this story Short with Big title but it also delivers such a Punch! The title says it all, this story is all about Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice . I mean how do you fit all that in 20 pages? But Nam Le has definitely done that. This story portrays what most Asian families would experience, especially those second generation living in the Western world. The struggle with of who we really are; the difficulty in mixing the 2/3 cultures and ideologies. This gap between the Asian parents and their westernised children are sometimes too wide and yet… if you are willing to reach out and compromise, anything is possible.
Note: Hhhhmmm… I’ve just noticed the ‘Shorts’ bit in my weekly feature to the Penguin branding. This is totally coincidental as I meant it to be short reviews Not short books / stories.