Flesh. What An Amazing Cover! Credit Here.
Flesh by Khanh Ha is a historical fiction that takes you to another time and place, but also immerses you in the smells, sights, and sounds. The hero, Tai, is forged in the events, horrors, and cultural changes of 19th Century Tonkin (now Vietnam), is a portrait not only of the time but of the people. Flesh makes you feel the emotion and senses like very few other books I have ever read.
A book with a writing style similar to Khaled Hosseini (probably my favorite fiction author), Flesh follows the protagonist Tai. In the beginning, he is a witness at the beheading of his bandit father, and is determined to find the men who betrayed his father. As Tai is only a teenager, he has to become a man quickly, tempered by violence and tragedy, but always doing what is right in his heart. When he becomes desperate to find a proper burial site for his father and brother, he pledges 2 years of service to a man who is not all he may say he is.
As we travel with Tai along throughout Hanoi, through opium dens and encountering homeless men, we get an intimate feel for the world, the smell of beetles, the crimson color of blood. Flesh reads like a song. I believe, however, that the greatest part of Flesh was how all are connected in some way. The relation that sometimes is not wanted but obligated, the tragedy of love, and how sometimes healing can come from your worst enemy. It seemed that throughout Flesh people were always there, ready to help Tai, to betray him, even though most shared the blood of family. Finally, the person that you trust most may end up being your worst betrayer.
Flesh is a lyrical masterpiece by a debut author, and lets us connect with this time, and with these characters. A work that reads as a song, imagery is beautiful in this novel, and will have you picturing this world long after you put the book down.
Khanh Ha- Author Of Flesh
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).