The Sea of Trees

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( su 48 valutazioni fornite da Goodreads )
 
9780395850121: The Sea of Trees

In her haunting first novel, Yannick Murphy surveys the landscape of imperialism through the unflinching gaze of an adolescent girl. Set in Indochina in the 1940s - well before American intervention - in the territory that is now Vietnam, it is narrated by the clear-eyed Tian, daughter of a French mother and Chinese father, who is taken prisoner when the Japanese invade Shanghai. The camp is a nightmarish place, where horror sometimes slips surrealistically into comedy as the prisoners watch for liberators to cross the sea of trees that separates them from freedom. Here it is women who become Tian's first allies, especially her passionate young mother and wily amah, who instill pluck, pragmatism, and an unbending will to survive. In a voice that rings with the startling frankness of youth, The Sea of Trees combines imagery both raw and beautiful. Based on stories from the author's own family history and laced with Chinese folklore, it adds a distinctly female contour to the map of empi

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About the Author:

Yannick Murphy is the author of AHWOOOOOOOO! illustrated by Claudio Mu˝oz and several other books for readers of all ages. Her novels for adults include HERE THEY COME (McSweeney's), which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and THE SEA OF TREES (Houghton Mifflin), which was named one of the best books of 1997 in the New York Times Book Review. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee Writer's Conference and the MacDowell Artist Colony, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.Yannick Murphy lives with her family in Pasadena, California.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Murphy's (Stories in Another Language, 1987) debut novel is a vivid and often powerful, although almost as often curiously perfunctory, girl's-eye saga of a wildly endangered life in the Far East during and after WW II. It's 1942, and Tian (short for Christiane) tells about being held in a Japanese prison camp in Kontum, Indochina, along with her Chinese father Yeu, her French mother Marcelle, and her dear beloved nanny, teacher, and caretaker--``my amah.'' Torture, fear, murder, and hunger are constant realities (Yeu escapes temporarily to try to join forces with the Montagnards; Marcelle, dreaming of her absent husband, gives birth to her second daughter) before liberation by the Chinese in 1945 sends the family first by foot to Saigon, then by train to Shanghai and the splendidly rich house there that was once home. Not only, however, is Shanghai in ruins, but it's being taken over by the Communists (shown as demonically cruel), whom the once-moneyed family must by necessity flee. Tian's father joins the nationalist army while Tian goes by ship with the others back to Saigon--where another entire novel seems to unfold as the spunky Tian, turning 16, single-handedly supports her family (by translating for the French as they torture Vietnamese prisoners), nurses her mother through typhoid, flies ahead to Biarritz (Marcelle's hometown) to make contact with ``Uncle Robert'' in order that the others can follow. More is still to come before this oddly meandering tale's end, but along the way, and amid the horror, are indisputable sources of pleasure--the droll wisdom of the comically unflappable amah, Marcelle's undying dream of dancing elegantly with her missing husband again, the horse in Saigon that decides to move indoors, then stands looking out a window even after the house itself is ruined. An indefatigably forward-going if often poetic story of girlhood and family amid war, terror, loss--and sometimes luck. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Yannick Murphy
Editore: Houghton Mifflin (1997)
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