"The word em refers to the little brother or little sister in a family; or the younger of two friends; or the woman in a couple. I like to think that the word em is the homonym of the verb aimer, “to love,” in French, in the imperative: aime."

Em is a heartwrenching and heartwarming story about the Vietnam War and its aftermath, told through short vignettes and following a small cast of characters back and forth in time. It makes a person feel furious and hopeless about the fact of war.

This is a short book with short chapters and beautiful prose, which makes it an easy book to read. It deals with heavy topics, which makes it a hard book to read. The writing is poetic and evocative. I had a hard time getting into the writing style when I read Vi by the same author, but with this book I didn’t have that issue. It is translated from French, and I think reading it in the original language would be the best experience.

For those who are ignorant, as I am, about the American (Vietnam) War – if you can handle reading about the horror and brutality – I highly recommend this book. I’m adding Kim Thuy to my list of favourite Canadian authors.

Kim Thúy
160 pages
Publication date September 28th 2021 by Random House Canada

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Canada for making this advance reader's copy available to me.


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