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A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha (giveaway)

Source: the author and Premier Virtual Author Book Tours
Paperback, 150 pgs.
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A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha is a collection of stories that explore heartbreak, loss, and healing. Readers of Ha’s work will see some familiar faces, especially Mrs. Rossi, Nicola, Le, and others. These stories weave in and out of the jungles of Vietnam and elsewhere to untangle the unseen connections we have to one another. Some of these connections will not bring the best turn to some lives, while others will highlight the truth of people who are enigmas to us.

“She wondered where all the souls of the dead have gone. I told her perhaps the ghosts needed a medium to show themselves to the living, and the fireflies’ blue lights were that medium, just like earth, water, fire, and air made up the medium of living human beings.” (from “A Mother’s Tale”)

The ghosts of the dead and lost souls are never too far from these stories. They are hovering at the edge as the living try to sort out their lives and come to terms with the past. Some of the stories in this collection shed a great deal of backstory and light onto the story in Mrs. Rossi’s Dream, but I don’t think you need to have read that novel to enjoy these stories, though the stories did elevate my understanding of his multilayered characters in that novel. I particularly loved the insight into Mrs. Rossi’s adopted daughter, Chi Lan. In many ways, I would consider this collection a companion to the novel.

A Mother’s Tale and Other Stories by Khanh Ha offers an array of character studies that explore broken relationships, loss, the effects of war even generations later, but more than that, his work paints a picture of humanity that is at times beautiful as it is dark and traumatic. Once I started delving into this world, it was hard to come out of it without being changed. It was hard to look at life and not see the connections that propel us on our journeys.

About the Author:

Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh, The Demon Who Peddled Longing, and Mrs. Rossi’s Dream. He is a seven-time Pushcart nominee, finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize, Many Voices Project, Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and The University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize. He is the recipient of the Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, the Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction, and the Orison Anthology Award for Fiction. Mrs. Rossi’s Dream, was named Best New Book by Booklist and a 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIES Silver Winner and Bronze Winner.  A Mother’s Tale & Other Stories has already won the C&R Press Fiction Prize. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter.

RATING: Quatrain

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