The Bukowski Agency - Floating Like the Dead

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67,500 words / 240 pages
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Canada: McClelland & Stewart, Apr 2012

ABOUT YASUKO THANH

Yasuko Thanh
(Photo: Courtesy of the author)

Yasuko’s story collection Floating Like the Dead was published by McClelland & Stewart in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award and the B.C. Book Prize for Fiction. One story in it won an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Short Story. The title story won the Journey Prize for the best story published in Canada in 2009. Quill and Quire named Floating Like the Dead a best book of the year. CBC hailed Yasuko Thanh one of ten writers to watch in 2013. Her debut novel Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains, inspired by the history of her father’s family in French Indochina, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize for the best novel of 2016. Yasuko lives in Victoria, B.C., with her two children.

Floating Like the Dead

stories by Yasuko Thanh

INTRODUCING AN EXCITING NEW VOICE IN FICTION

Floating Like the Dead - Canadian coverIn this sharply observed and erotically charged debut collection, Journey Prize winner Yasuko Thanh immerses us in the lives of people on the knife edge of desire and regret, hungry for change.

In “Her Vietnamese Boyfriend,” a story set in 1960s Germany that crackles with sexual tension, a young woman is sent to work for a farmer as a homemaker while his wife is away. In “His Lover’s Ghost,” a man is forced to confront his own fears about being left behind when his dying lover becomes convinced he is being visited by a ghost. In “Hunting in Spanish,” a woman in a Mexican resort town where anything goes pushes herself to the limits of love and despair. And in the Journey Prize-winning title story, “Floating Like the Dead,” a group of Chinese lepers at the turn of the twentieth century spend their last days dreaming of escape from exile on a remote island off the coast of Canada.

The characters in these stories are expats, outsiders, and outliers; yet in their struggles to be themselves and to belong, they remind us of our own deepest longings and desires. With this seductive and emotionally compelling collection, Yasuko Thanh announces herself as an exciting new voice in Canadian fiction.

PRAISE FOR FLOATING LIKE THE DEAD

“Her empathy for a variety of characters in crisis – from a German nanny choosing a husband to a betrayed Vietnamese wife – is impressive, as is her talent for reimagining little-known historical periods. Together, these qualities combine to make Floating Like the Dead an impressive debut.”  — THE MONTREAL GAZETTE

“A prizewinner well before the publication of her first book, Yasuko Thanh impresses above all with the thematic complexity of her approach. Coupling a globetrotter’s perspective and historical curiosity to that, her stories conjure vignettes of troubling existence, where change is possible but outcomes deviate far from plans.”  — THE VANCOUVER SUN

Floating Like the Dead is a fictional feast … I loved it.”  — NIKKI TATE, All Points West (CBC Radio)

“Yasuko Thanh writes with a tiger’s eye for detail, her sentences haunt, images flash like lightning. She is a major talent.”  — WAYSON CHOY

“A prize-winner well before the publication of her first book, Yasuko Thanh impresses above all with the thematic complexity of her approach. Coupling a globetrotter’s perspective and historical curiosity to that, her stories conjure vignettes of troubling existence, where change is possible but outcomes deviate far from plans.”  — NATIONAL POST

“Using artfully simple language, Thanh has crafted a story of powerfully resonant emotion with tremendous restraint – a gift that respects both her characters and her readers.”  — JOURNEY PRIZE JURY CITATION

“Yasuko Thanh is a one-of-a-kind writer who perfectly inhabits the voices of her characters, whether they’re living on the margins or in the shadows of history. No matter where her stories take us, Thanh’s prose shines with true, living detail.”  — LEE HENDERSON

“A masterful first book: wise, capricious, moving, and exotic. Here’s a dexterous hand guiding characters we won’t soon forget. These stories show us the many routes of the heart.”  — BILL GASTON

“Thanh’s stories arrive as advertised – afloat on gorgeous prose, populated by men and women who hover at edge of life’s grand transitions. A remarkable debut by an observant and talented writer.”  — MICHAEL TURNER

 

 

 

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