peteg's blog

Vu Tran: Dragonfish.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. Mostly read in Mumbai, waiting for the train to Goa, and on the train. I finished it soon after realising that there's not much to do in Margao either.

Tran is a prof at University of Chicago and I passed up an opportunity to hear him speak about this book earlier this year. There is a hell of a lot of Bond-style exposition (No, I expect you to die, Mr Bond!) here, and the plot is very twisty and revelatory for threadbare reasons. It's a cinematic and implausible whodunnit, something like Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs: there's not much of a moral centre, and the violence is quite graphic. I didn't grasp the symbology of the fish. I didn't find the second track, where mother talks to daughter, very powerful, apart from the account of the days in the refugee camp, perhaps because most stories focus on the boat part of that journey.

Chris Abani at the New York Times.