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Mrs. Rossi’s Dream
by Khanh Ha

Publication Date: March 20, 2019
The Permanent Press
eBook; 312 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Military

 

 

“I live in a coastal town in the deep south of the Mekong Delta. During the war this was IV Corps, which saw many savage fights. Although the battles might have long been forgotten, some places cannot forget.”

Thus begins the harrowing yet poignant story of a North Vietnamese communist defector who spends ten years in a far-flung reform prison after the war, and now, in 1987, a free man again, finds work as caretaker at a roadside inn in the U Minh region. One day new guests arrive at the inn: an elderly American woman and her daughter, an eighteen-year-old Vietnamese girl adopted at the age of five from an orphanage in the Mekong Delta before the war ended. Catherine Rossi has come to this region to find the remains of her son, a lieutenant who went missing-in-action during the war.

Mrs. Rossi’s Dream tells the stories of two men in time parallel: Giang, the thirty-nine-year-old war veteran; Nicola Rossi, a deceased lieutenant in the United States Army, the voice of a spirit. From the haunting ugliness of the Vietnam War, the stories of these two men shout, cry, and whisper to us the voices of love and loneliness, barbarity and longing, lived and felt by a multitude of people from all walks of life: the tender adolescent vulnerability of a girl toward a man who, as a drifter and a war-hardened man, draws beautifully in his spare time; the test of love and faith endured by a mother whose dogged patience even baffles the local hired hand who thinks the poor old lady must have gone out of her mind, and whose determination drives her into the spooky forest, rain or shine, until one day she claims she has sensed an otherworldly presence in there with her. In the end she wishes to see, just once, a river the local Vietnamese call “The River of White Water Lilies,” the very river her son saw, now that all her hopes to find his remains die out.

Just then something happens. She finds out where he has lain buried for twenty years and how he was killed.

“Ha’s prose is so clear and vivid, whether describing a dying soldier’s wounds or local flora and fauna, and his message is so powerfully understated that this beautifully written novel should have a place alongside the best fiction of the Vietnam War.” -Booklist Starred Review

“Five stars to Khanh Ha for this marvelous read and for making me an immediate fan of his work. I hope to read more by this author soon and will be keeping an eye out for him in the future. This was the type of reading experience I hope for when I pick up a new book.” -Laura Lee (Christine’s Book Corner)

Amazon | Barnes and Noble 

About the Author

Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh (Black Heron Press) and The Demon Who Peddled Longing (Underground Voices). He is a seven-time Pushcart nominee, a Best Indie Lit New England nominee, twice a finalist of The William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Award, and the recipient of Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, and Greensboro Review’s Robert Watson Literary Prize in fiction. The Demon Who Peddled Longing was honored by Shelf Unbound as a Notable Indie Book. Ha graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Khanh Ha on tour for Flesh, March 25 – April 18

Posted By amy @ 12:55 pm | No Comments

Please join Khanh Ha as he tours virtually with HFVBT for Flesh from March 25 – April 18.

FleshPublication Date: June 15, 2012
Black Heron Publishing
Hardcover; 368p
ISBN-10: 0930773888

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 acknowledging his bond, and his resemblance, to a man he barely knew–his father. Through this story of revenge is woven 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.

Read an excerpt HERE.

Book Trailer

Praise for FLESH

“Vietnam-born Ha’s beautifully described [. . .] first novel, set in his native country at the turn of the 20th century, opens with an infamous yet respected bandit being beheaded in front of his wife and their two young sons. This beginning casts a pall over the tale as Tài, the eldest son, embarks on a far-reaching journey to retrieve his father’s skull, find a suitable burial site, and seek revenge on the man who betrayed his father’s trust. Through a series of twists and turns [. . .] Tài trades two years’ service to a wealthy entrepreneur for land on which to bury the father’s remains. During that time, Tài loses his heart to Xiaoli, an indentured servant working in an opium den, and will do anything—including holding off on vengeance and killing a French soldier—to protect her. In this dark, violent, and poetic saga, with disjointed cinematic vignettes that make it often read like a screenplay, characters are not who they seem. While this makes for a thrilling finale, what lingers [. . .] is Ha’s descriptive prose.” – Publishers Weekly

“History marches on, and there will never be something like that ever again. Flesh is a historical novel set in pre-turn of the twentieth century Vietnam, a Vietnam so very different than the Vietnam known today. A young man is faced with the honest brutality of his world in his first sight. Trying to understand a world filled with such hate and such joys, and how it can twist young minds, Flesh is a strong addition to any literary historical fiction collection, much recommended.” – Midwest Book Review

“To describe the writing and flow of the story is almost impossible, as it is like nothing I have ever read before. You float through the story, stopping off on occasion to be jerked back into a story that will keep you reading into all hours of the night. A fantastic story with a prose like none I’ve ever read, I would highly recommend it. It has a little bit of everything, and even though it is a dark story of a young man seeking help in finding the traitor who caused the death of his father, I had a soft spot in my heart for many of the characters, and the plight they had to deal with.” – Review From Here

“As I read Flesh, Khanh Ha’s debut novel, it seemed to me that the story is almost dreamlike. A dream in that early hours of a hot morning where you are still in between sleeping and waking up. Your conscious mind taps into your unforgotten but repressed memories which lash out in vicious force with unforgiving storylines. . . . these dreams have a tendency to shape the day or the week with their brutal honesty and, quite honestly, make excellent stories.

The journey throughout the book, whether through light or darkness, is fascinating, violent, and even heartbreaking.

Mr. Ha is a talented writer; he does a wonderful job setting the dark, yet poetic, mood and a fine job describing settings in vivid, smells, colorful imagery. Each chapter reads like a long lost memory, as if Tai was recalling his life in an older age and telling the story to a grandchild or an engaged reader.” – Man of La Book

About the AuthorAuthor Photo

Khanh Ha’s debut novel is FLESH (June 2012, Black Heron Press). He graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. During his teen years he began writing short stories which won him several awards in the Vietnamese adolescent magazines. He is at work on a new novel. A short story, reshaped from this novel, was publised by Red Savina Review in its 2013 Spring inaugural edition. It was also nominated for the Winter Literary Award in the Tethered by Letters Journal but was withrawn because of conflict of interest. Another Ha’s short story was published in the 2013 February Outside in Literary & Travel Magazine (http://outsideinmagazine.com/) For further information on FLESH, please visit the author’s website and blog.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, March 25
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 26
Review at Raging Blbliomania

Wednesday, March 27
Interview at Tribute Books

Thursday, March 28
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, March 29
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Monday, April 1
Giveaway at A Writer’s Life: Working with the Muse

Tuesday, April 2
Review & Giveaway at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Wednesday, April 3
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, April 4
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, April 5
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Monday, April 8
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, April 9
Interview at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Wednesday, April 10
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Libraria

Thursday, April 11
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, April 12
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, April 15
Review at bookramblings

Tuesday, April 16
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Wednesday, April 17
Review at I Read a Book Once

Thursday, April 18
Review at Book Nerds Club

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Historical Fiction Title for Review

Posted By amy @ 10:16 am | No Comments

Author Khanh Ha will be touring with Historical Fiction Virtual Books Tours for his novel, Flesh, from March 25 – April 19, 2013.  Spots are open for reviews, interviews and giveaways. If you are interested in hosting the virtual tour for Flesh, please email Amy at hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com.

Publication Date: June 1Flesh5, 2012
Black Heron Publishing
368p

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 acknowledging his bond, and his resemblance, to a man he barely knew–his father. Through this story of revenge is woven 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.

Read an excerpt HERE.

View the Book Trailer HERE.

Praise for FLESH

“Vietnam-born Ha’s beautifully described [. . .] first novel, set in his native country at the turn of the 20th century, opens with an infamous yet respected bandit being beheaded in front of his wife and their two young sons. This beginning casts a pall over the tale as Tài, the eldest son, embarks on a far-reaching journey to retrieve his father’s skull, find a suitable burial site, and seek revenge on the man who betrayed his father’s trust. Through a series of twists and turns [. . .] Tài trades two years’ service to a wealthy entrepreneur for land on which to bury the father’s remains. During that time, Tài loses his heart to Xiaoli, an indentured servant working in an opium den, and will do anything—including holding off on vengeance and killing a French soldier—to protect her. In this dark, violent, and poetic saga, with disjointed cinematic vignettes that make it often read like a screenplay, characters are not who they seem. While this makes for a thrilling finale, what lingers [. . .] is Ha’s descriptive prose.” – Publishers Weekly

“History marches on, and there will never be something like that ever again. Flesh is a historical novel set in pre-turn of the twentieth century Vietnam, a Vietnam so very different than the Vietnam known today. A young man is faced with the honest brutality of his world in his first sight. Trying to understand a world filled with such hate and such joys, and how it can twist young minds, Flesh is a strong addition to any literary historical fiction collection, much recommended.” – Midwest Book Review

“To describe the writing and flow of the story is almost impossible, as it is like nothing I have ever read before. You float through the story, stopping off on occasion to be jerked back into a story that will keep you reading into all hours of the night. A fantastic story with a prose like none I’ve ever read, I would highly recommend it. It has a little bit of everything, and even though it is a dark story of a young man seeking help in finding the traitor who caused the death of his father, I had a soft spot in my heart for many of the characters, and the plight they had to deal with.” – Review From Here

“As I read Flesh, Khanh Ha’s debut novel, it seemed to me that the story is almost dreamlike. A dream in that early hours of a hot morning where you are still in between sleeping and waking up. Your conscious mind taps into your unforgotten but repressed memories which lash out in vicious force with unforgiving storylines. . . . these dreams have a tendency to shape the day or the week with their brutal honesty and, quite honestly, make excellent stories.

The journey throughout the book, whether through light or darkness, is fascinating, violent, and even heartbreaking.

Mr. Ha is a talented writer; he does a wonderful job setting the dark, yet poetic, mood and a fine job describing settings in vivid, smells, colorful imagery. Each chapter reads like a long lost memory, as if Tai was recalling his life in an older age and telling the story to a grandchild or an engaged reader.” – Man of La Book

About the Author

Author Photo

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 studied Journalism at Ohio University and learned the craft of writing under Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon) and Walter Tevis (The Man Who Fell to Earth). FLESH (Black Heron Press, June 2012) is his first novel (literary fiction).

For more information, please visit Khanh Ha’s WEBSITE and BLOG.