Tuesday, 29 April 2014
The Trader of Saigon by Lucy Cruikshanks
Alexander is a deserter from the US army and is now engaged in the dark and sordid business of trading women.
Hanh is the girl who thinks Alexander is the answer to her prayers and will help her out of poverty.
Phuc has gambled away all his money and now has to pay his debts which will have a significant impact on both him and his family.
This is a society torn apart by the ravages of war and the fates of these three people are destined to become intertwined in a ruthless manner.
I enjoyed this book enormously and by the time I was about three quarters of the way through I just had to sit and read the rest of it in one sitting. The author tells the story of each of the characters separately but as the book progresses the three come together to make this compelling reading.
However, it does not always make comfortable reading as the subject matter is dark and centres around the trading of women but the character of Hanh is full of hope and, as a reader, I found myself both fearful for her whilst sharing her hope in a better future. She is a heart rending character whose plight will move any reader and her story certainly had me hooked from the start.
The writing is very atmospheric and the sense of place is acute. The author skilfully transports her reader to the heat and oppression of this city and I had a good sense of the consequences of chaos and corruption facing these characters in this post war setting. The author enables her reader to visualise the city through evocative writing and excellent story telling skills.
I highly recommend this book. The subject matter is dark and deals with some uncomfortable issues but ultimately it is a novel of hope and redemption and is a fascinating story of three people striving to improve their lives. Lucy Cruickshank is a debut author whose writing is both powerful and succinct and I look forward to seeing more of her work.
I read this as a kindle version which costs just 98p on Amazon today. This is incredibly good value for such a good book and I recommend buying this today.
ISBN: 978 1782063445
Publisher: Heron Books
Price (based on today’s price at Amazon.co.uk): 98p
Total saving so far: £254.73