The Boat – Discussion Notes

This Wednesday the group discussed the multi award winning book ‘The Boat’ by Nam Le, a collection of seven short stories, which has also been featured in the ‘Get Reading’ free guide ’50 Books you can’t put down’.  To see why the book was voted a ‘highly recommended read’ keep reading this post. 

The discussion started with the last story in the book also called ‘The Boat’ which the group found very moving.  Mai’s father had been sent for “re-education” and wanted her to have a better life.  The personal experiences of refugees are always valid and insightful and should be better known.

The breadth of experience covered in the range of stories is amazing for such a young author (under 35).  The stories have a common thread of brutality, not physical brutality but psychological and emotional brutality, there is a real sense of hope thwarted.  The book covers a multitude of challenges rather than despair.  The vision of life presented is one where individuals struggle in various ways.  The writer’s style is poetic and does make very interesting reading.  The group discussed some of the issues raised by the stories including the issue of refugees and living with cancer.

Highly recommended reading by most of the group.