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by Cecile Pin
There are the goodbyes and then the fishing out of the bodies – everything in between is speculation.
Long-listed for the Womens Prize for Fiction, Wandering Souls tells the story of siblings Anh, Thanh and Minh, not long after the last American troops leave Vietnam, who flee their village and embark on a perilous boat journey to Hong Kong. Their parents and four younger siblings make the crossing in another vessel but as weeks go by it becomes clear that only one party has survived the voyage.
Anh, Thanh and Minh suddenly find themselves alone in the world, without family or home. They travel on, navigating refugee camps and resettlement centres until, by a twist of fate, they arrive in Thatcher’s Britain to start their new lives.
In this piercing debut, the siblings’ faltering journey is deftly interwoven with the voice of their lost younger brother, Dao, following them from a place between the living and the dead, and the records of an unknown researcher intent on gathering the strands of their story. Wandering Souls paints a heart-wrenching portrait of a family in crisis while exploring the healing power of stories.
Wandering Souls is a poignant saga with its grieving, beating heart firmly in the right place, and heralds the arrival of an ambitious and promising new talent. – Guardian
A deeply humane and genre-defying work of love and uncompromising hope’ – Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth we’re Briefly Gorgeous