Vi by Kim Thúy

“My first name, Bảo Vi, showed my parents’ determination to “protect the smallest one.” In a literal translation, I am “Tiny precious microscopic.” As is often the case in Vietnam, I did not match the image of my own name.”

3/5 stars.
ebook, 88 pages.
Read September 28, 2018.

Having enjoyed Ru for its beautiful prose, I was happy to find this short read by Thúy.

This story follows a similar formula to Ru, as it follows one girl, Vi, and her family’s story of immigration from Vietnam to Canada during the midst of the Vietnam war. Their father does not take the perilous journey over with causing a tear in the family. Once in Canada, the once affluent family has to make serious financial adjustments in their new home. In a way, Vi is another adaptation of Ru. Vi is a first-generation Vietnamese-Canadian stuck in between the cultures and traditions her mother believes in and the new ones in their new home in Montreal, Canada. As with many first-generation immigrants, Vi is at odds with her values and identity. Her mother is traditional and wants her to follow her upbringing but the current atmosphere in Canada is very different compared to where she grew up and she dabbles in what her mother views as scandalous behaviours.

The story is short and the ending is ambivalent but it’s an honest rendition of one person’s struggles to come to terms with their own identity as they grow in a new country there is, however, some jumping around with the timeframe in the plot that is hard to follow at times.  As with Ru, I am curious to know how much of the story actually happened to the author as she shares a similar background story to her characters.

Overall, this book is a beautiful read and an easy way to get a quick read in if you’re looking to catch up on a reading goal.

Author: pluviophilereader2313

I have an obsession with running, cats, video games, books and angry music. I also like to write. Read my book reviews.

2 thoughts on “Vi by Kim Thúy”

  1. I want to read 100 books this year (I’ve gotten up to 89 as of yesterday) so reading this book seems like a good way to push myself forward, even though I rarely read immigrant narratives (if ever.) Not that I have anything against immigration, it’s just not my subgenre of choice. If this book and “Ru” are very similar, do you think it’s worth reading both of them? I had that problem with two William Maxwell books this year, I read the superior one first and they were so similar in so many ways (being semi-autobiographical) that the second one just felt redundant. 😛

    Like

    1. 89! Wow, good for you! I usually manage around 50 so I’m very impressed. Hmm, while wouldn’t say no to reading them both I could see there might be some redundancy in the themes. If you’re not sure which to read I’d definitely start with Ru (it’s not a long novel) and if you love it, read Vi after.

      Liked by 1 person

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