Barry reveals a Vietnamese people who are easy to imagine as characters in a post-apocalyptic novel a la The Road—except the sting is that these are images of people from our past, those who survived war and being carted about their country. Spanning 30 years, the novel features an artful narrator who poetically reveals the landscape while unwinding the life of Rabbit: daughter, friend, lover, ghost-whisperer, and more to those around her. It’s easy to revel in Barry’s language and story—lingering on description like it was dessert, attending scenes that coalesce as footage of a life of endless searching for what calls.— Todd Wellman
Vietnam, 1972: under a full moon, on the banks of the Song Ma River, a baby girl is pulled out of her dead mother's grave. This is Rabbit, who is born with the ability to speak with the dead. She will flee from her destroyed village with a makeshift family thrown together by war. As Rabbit channels the voices of the dead, their chorus reconstructs the turbulent history of a nation, from the days of French Indochina and the World War II rubber plantations to the chaos of postwar reunification. Radiant, lyrical, and deeply moving, this is the unforgettable story of one woman's struggle to unearth the true history of Vietnam while also carving out a place for herself within it.
About the Author
Born in Saigon and raised on Boston's north shore, Quan Barry is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of four poetry books; her third book, Water Puppets, won the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in such publications as Ms. and The New Yorker. Barry lives in Wisconsin.