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Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin

This books starts with the line 'There are the goodbyes and then the fishing out of the bodies – everything in between is speculation.' Be prepared for a hard, heart breaking read. This story is about Vietnamese culture and history. About courage and bravery and love and resilience. Of all the books I read, I will never forget Wandering Souls or Anh, Thanh and Minh.

From the back

One night, not long after the last American troops leave Vietnam, siblings Anh, Thanh and Minh 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. Here they must somehow build new lives with only each other to turn to, but will that be enough in a place that doesn’t seem to want them?

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.


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