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At ten years old, Kim Thuy fled Vietnam on a boat with her family, leaving behind a grand house and the many less tangible riches of their home country: the ponds of lotus blossoms, the songs of soup-vendors.The family arrived in Quebec, where they found clothes at the flea market, and mattresses with actual fleas. Kim learned French and English, and as she grew older, seized what opportunities an immigrant could; she put herself through school picking vegetables and sewing clothes, worked as a lawyer and interpreter, and later as a restaurateur. She was married and a mother when the urge to write struck her, and she found herself scribbling words at every opportunitypulling out her notebook at stoplights and missing the change to green. The story emerging was one of a Vietnamese emigre on a boat to an unknown future: her own story fictionalized and crafted into a stunning novel. The novel's title, Ru, has meaning in both Kim's native and adoptive languages: in Vietnamese, ru is a lullaby; in French, a stream. And it provides the perfect name for this slim yet potent novel. With prose that soothes and sings, Ru weaves through time, flows and transports: a river of sensuous memories gathering power. It's a classic immigrant story told in a breathtaking new way.
Kim Thúy was born in Saigon and arrived in Quebec at age ten in 1978. She has degrees from the University of Montreal in linguistics and translation and in law, and lives in Montreal, where she now devotes herself to writing.
Sheila Fischman is a two-time winner of both the Canada Council Prize for Translation and Columbia University's Felix-Antoine Savard Award, and has also received the Governor General's Award for Translation and the Molson Prize for the Arts.