Vi by Kim Thúy and translated by Sheila Fischman

Published: 10 April 2018

Genres: Fiction, Bildungsroman*, Young Adult, Adult Fiction

* Bildungsroman is a coming-of-age story

Available as: Paperback, Ebook, Audiobook

Interview with Kim Thúy

Summary:

Vi is narrated by the author, Kim Thúy, with a total length of three hours and 4 minutes. The story follows the journey of two generations. Through the eyes of the main character and youngest child of the family, Vi, we see the different ways that Vi’s mother, her “aunt” Hà, and eventually, Vi navigate their lives and relationships, both familial and romantic. The story also explores the hardships of having to leave home to immigrate to Canada.

Review

I would recommend this audiobook to young adults and adults interested in listening and contemplating their lives. As I was listening to this story, it caused me to think about how I want to educate my future generations. Listening to the experience of Vi’s mother pursuing her husband and teaching her daughter-in-law how to pursue her son, I admired her perseverance and willingness to spend the extra time even when it was overlooked. I was also happy for Vi when the care she put into her actions was noticed by her last partner. I liked how Vi’s mother encouraged Vi to have new opportunities despite being the baby of the family. Although Hà was considered her opposite in personality, Vi’s mother allowed Vi to spend time with her which led her build her confidence when meeting new people. Although Vi’s mother did not specifically talk to Vi about love, it was interesting to see that Vi learned to give her all to the one she loved but her relationship took a different path from her mother’s or Hà’s. Two elements that stood out to me were the untranslated words and the ending. I would recommend that listeners read the book while listening because there were some words that were untranslated. Therefore, listeners might want to pause and look up the meaning in the dictionary, which can be difficult if one does not know how to spell the word. Another element was the ending. Up until the last moment, I was unsure why Vi suddenly decided to return to see her father.

Overall Rating: 🌕🌕🌕

3 – Definitely informative

Ending: 🌕🌕🌕 – 3/5

Plot: 🌕🌕🌕- 3/5

World-building: 🌕🌕🌕- 3/5

Characters: 🌕🌕🌕 – 3/5

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