Author: Khan Ha
Genre/s: Historical Fiction
Source: Review Copy from Novel Publicity & Co.
The setting is Tonkin (northern Vietnam) at the turn of the 20th century. A boy, Tai, witnesses the beheading of his father, a notorious bandit, and sets out to recover his head and then to find the man who betrayed his father to the authorities. On this quest, Tai's entire world will shift. FLESH takes the reader into dark and delightful places in the human condition, places where allies are not always your friends, true love hurts, and your worst enemy may bring you the most comfort. In that emotionally harrowing world, Tai must learn to deal with new responsibilities in his life while at the same time acknowledge his bond, and his resemblance, to a man he barely knew-his father. Through this story of revenge is woven a another story, one of love, but love purchased with the blood of murders Tai commits. A coming-of-age story, but also a love story, the sensuality of the author's writing style belies the sometimes brutal world he depicts.
After I read Flesh, I honestly don't know how I'm going to review it. I'm not a big fan of historical fiction ever since high school because it tends to bore me whenever I read them. But Flesh is different than any historical novels that I read.
From the very first chapter of Flesh, I was already captivated by the narrator's dark tone and the way he set the mood of the story, as if warning me that this is not going to be an easy read.
In my twilight years, my possession are sparse,
Among a few things I keep, there are two items that have been with me for who knows how long...
One of them is a pocket watch, You open its cover and on the inside there's a woman's black-and-white picture...This watch belonged to a man who betrayed my father so he could step into the woman's life - my mother's. They were part of a gang of outlaws led by my father. All of them were beheaded except the traitor, who was rewarded handsomely and disappeared thereafter.
The other article is a human skull. It sits on my window ledge looking out from its empty eye sockets at birds, trees...But there it sits on my window ledge, aged in ivory yellow - the traitor's skull - and I bear him no more hatred. I polish him bow and then, for I know his occult neatness. He used to arrange his slippers outside his sleeping chamber, so precisely even that you could draw two parallel lines on either side of them, Only then could he sleep. His loveless, enigmatic life happened to cross mine.
It reminds me a lot of the Cask of Amontillado, with its rich, vivid description and its poetic prose that adds beauty to the story. But other than the brilliant storytelling of Khanh Ha, Tai's character also shines through as he told his coming-of-age story of strife and triumph and overcoming life's challenges.
If you like well-written novel with realistic characters and a heart-wrenching story, Flesh is the one for you.
Reading this book inspired my slumbering muse and so I decided to create a tanka, base from the scene in this book. Let me know what you think about this. :)
My Father's Execution
by Erleen Alvarez
Tai watched his father
As he gaze up at the sky.
His face was still calm.
He ready himself and took
a last look at us. Goodbye.
About the Author:
Khanh Ha was born in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam. During his teen years, he began writing short stories, which won him several awards in the Vietnamese adolescent magazines. He graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. FLESH (Black Heron Press, June 2012) is his first novel (literary fiction).
Connect with the Khanh Ha
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Get Flesh on Amazon or Barnes&Nobles
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Flesh?
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a
$50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Flesh tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I've posted the contest form below, or you can enter
on the tour page linked above.
a Rafflecopter giveaway