The setting is Tonkin (northern Vietnam) at the turn of the 20th century. A boy, Tai, witnesses the beheading of his father, a notorious bandit, and sets out to recover his head and then to find the man who betrayed his father to the authorities. On this quest, Tai’s entire world will shift. FLESH takes the reader into dark and delightful places in the human condition, places where allies are not always your friends, true love hurts, and your worst enemy may bring you the most comfort. In that emotionally harrowing world, Tai must learn to deal with new responsibilities in his life while at the same time acknowledge his bond, and his resemblance, to a man he barely knew-his father. Through this story of revenge is woven a another story, one of love, but love purchased with the blood of murders Tai commits. A coming-of-age story, but also a love story, the sensuality of the author’s writing style belies the sometimes brutal world he depicts.
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Flesh by Khanh Ha is dark and dreamlike . . . a stunning debut novel that showcases the writer's ability to become a young male narrator whose view of the world has been tainted by his life circumstances and tragedy, but who has the wherewithal to overcome and become a better man. Through a number of twists and turns, Tài must come to terms with the loss of his father, his obligations as the remaining male member of his family to care for his mother, and the secrets that his culture and family hide.
A lush, poetic tale, Flesh takes readers on a journey far beneath the surface of a land most have only glimpsed superficially in clichéd Hollywood films. . . . Where Khanh Ha excels, and what you will be unable to easily shake, are the deeply evocative descriptions of daily life in Annam. From the hand-to-mouth struggle in the villages to stave off disease and starvation to the enticing sensuality of the city's opium dens, Khanh Ha coaxes Tài's world to life in a vibrantly palpable manner.
A boldly confident coming of age story of a young man psychologically scarred by violence and driven by familial loyalty and societally imposed moral obligations, readers willing to venture off the beaten path to an unfamiliar land will find great pleasure exploring Khanh Ha's Flesh.
Reading this book is sometimes like flipping through a stack of postcards of old Annam. Ha fills his novel with beautiful surroundings, sights, sounds and even smells, inviting his readers to take a step back to another time and another place. Whether he's talking about the beautiful Annamese countryside, the river's sometimes treacherous waters with the water buffalo grazing along the shores, the narrow alleys of Hanoi or its crowded opium dens, you forget where you are in the present as you're transported back in time. He also hits on things that never seem to change -- the differences between rich and poor, crime, religious differences, love and the desire for revenge.
To find out more visit his website at : http://www.authorkhanhha.com/ or his blog at: http://authorkhanhha.blogspot.com/