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Ian Thomas Shaw Reviews Caroline Vu’s That Summer in Provincetown

that summer in provincetown

Ian Thomas Shaw recently reviewed Guernica author Caroline Vu’s new novel That Summer in Provincetown for The Ottawa Review of Books. Shaw’s review emphasizes Vu’s “ostensible calm thinly obscuring subliminal passion, if not compassion”, a quality that distinguishes Vu from “other authors writing on the Vietnamese-Canadian odyssey.” Instead, “there is no self-pity in Vu’s writing, no regret for a country lost and no rationalization for the very human failings of her characters…Caroline Vu tells it as it is.” That Summer in Provincetown focuses on three generations of a Vietnamese family through various major events of the 20th century. The story is told from the perspective of Mai, a Vietnamese woman now in her fifties, with a single incident at the novel’s core – the death of the narrator’s half-French, half-Vietnamese cousin from AIDS. Shaw explains that Vu manages to tell the story in such a way that “readers may wonder whether this story is biographical, perhaps the author’s act of contrition, of punishment or a simple commemoration of a life extinguished before its time?” Shaw ends his review by stating “That Summer in Provincetown is not a tale written out of vindictiveness. It is one where Vu’s eloquent voice and deep authenticity create beauty out of social disgrace and levity out of domination.” That Summer in Provincetown will be launched on June 6th at the Prose in the Park Literary Festival in Ottawa, where she will be joined by Guernica author David Joiner in the panel Under the Papaya Tree – Remembering Vietnam.

Caroline Vu was born in Vietnam and spent her childhood in Saigon during the height of the Vietnam War. Her childhood memories of war-torn Vietnam and integration into North American life have inspired two novels: Palawan Story and That Summer in Provincetown. Her stories and articles have been published in The Medical Post, The Toronto Star, The Montreal Gazette, The Geneva Times, and The Tico Times. Caroline Vu is also a family doctor, who currently works in Montreal.

To read the whole review, visit The Ottawa Review of Books website at:!That-Summer-in-Provincetown-by-Caroline-Vu/cu6k/E449CA04-7CDD-4EAC-B4E7-6B498A993FB3

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