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Mãn by Kim Thùy

In Mãn, Kim Thùy creates a poetic masterpiece. Words and sentences caress the page as does paint a canvas; such is the dedication to the craft by an artist. 

Kudos also goes to the publisher Random House Canada (and perhaps Kim Thùy herself) for publishing a book that is a joy to read. If you can appreciate art direction, you will love this visually smart use of white space and using the border as a dictionary.

Brevity is key. And, with just a few words, Kim Thùy elegantly conveys a lot about a culture, and the emotion of characters travelling their disparate journeys.

"Maman asked me to serve tea, that was all. I did not look at the face of the man even when I set the cup in front of him. My gaze wasn't required, it was only his that mattered."

"We could have had smoothies with soursop, sapodilla or papaya at the place next door, but that patch of garden with its blue plastic stools seemed reserved for the veiled smiles of schoolgirls and the timid touches of young lovers' hands. Whereas we were merely future spouses."

Every page of Mãn presents a unique opportunity to brush up on your Vietnamese. But it isn't limited just to Vietnamese. In fact, the books feels more attune to a tribute to language in general (well, just as much as it is to food).

"I constantly made mistakes, and until now the most surprising had to do with the French word rebelle, which I thought was a derivative of belle: to be belle again, because beauty is acquired and then lost."

The book is only 139 pages. But, if you are ready to be intoxicated by the delicious storytelling experience, I urge you to read it slowly, tasting very morsel of rice in the rice roll stuffed with mung bean paste, and embracing every step in Mãn's fated journey. 

"One forgets perhaps that those sorrows, like their flesh, are sealed hermetically into compartments under a carapace blistering with thorns."

Fabulous translation by Sheila Fischman.

5 out of 5 Sukasa Stars
Mãn by Kim Thùy is published by Random House Canada. 

Review by
@ShilpaRaikar for @SukasaReads (a division of @SukasaStyle

Shilpa Raikar is also creative strategist for Blink Advertising and contributes for