Thien writes well, but the story's subject matter simply couldn't interest me enough to finish the book.
Such ordinary writing. Reads more like a set of notes than a completed book. The emphasis is on emotion, and not characters or story (or prose). I heard the author speak at uOttawa HML509 a couple of weeks ago and she said she was proud of this book, so that's why I chose it, but I won't read any more by her.
Beautifully written novel about the Cambodian genocide and how it affected the psyches of three of its victims. These victims are damaged by the Cambodian conflict and decades later are still affected by it. The narrative is told through flashbacks and dreams and weaves scenes from wintry Montreal and from the tropical heat of Cambodia.
Janie’s life begins to unravel when her friend and mentor Hiroji vanishes from the research institute that they both work at. She moves into Hiroji apartment and discovers papers about Hiroji’s brother James who went to Vietnam during the conflict and never returned. These papers reawaken the trauma that Janie went through in Cambodia where she was the sole survivor in her family to escape from Cambodia.
Appeal factors: strong characterization and beautiful poetic writing style.
" Here is a modest-sized fiction with outsized ambitions." Charles Foran Globe and Mail May 6 2011.
I agree with this assessment. Painfully self-conscious writing.
Gave up early on.
Her prose is a little too "precious" for me....she writes as though she is intent on creating art....but, not just art...a masterpiece. As a result, there is a lot of "see....see how beautiful that sentence is??.....I can write, can't I.....can't I??"
"The beauty of Madeleine Thien’s prose doesn’t reside only in its clarity and elegance. She’s a surveyor of damaged lives, and her characters no longer possess the requisite layers of skin to protect them from what they have endured, and what they remember. Thien, a deeply empathetic writer, enfolds her wounded creations in morally precise language, offering the consolation of, in effect, storytelling. Dogs at the Perimeter is the young Montreal-based writer’s second novel. It aims to render intimate a catastrophe the scale of the Cambodian genocide, and to inhabit the psyches of three of its victims. Add to this a time frame of several decades, with much of the narrative told via flashbacks and dreams, along with scene changes from wintry Canada to tropical Cambodia. Here is a modest-sized fiction with outsized ambitions."
Globe and Mail May 6 2011
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