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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More


A Few minutes ago, I posted my 5 star review on ‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’.  It is now my honor to introduce the esteemed author, Khanh Ha!

Khanh HaHi Khanh, welcome to Teddy Rose Book Reviews, I’m happy you could discuss your work with us today!

TR:  Please tell us more about “The Demon Who Peddled Longing,” something that is not in the description.

KH:  Sure. There’s much more about this complex novel, and it begins with the boy badly hurt in a boat wreck. He finds himself on the Plain of Reeds in the Mekong Delta, being saved by a fisherwoman who drinks nothing but rice liquor and nurses him with her own milk and at night would take his sex and caress it like a holy object. When he decides to leave, the woman comes close to taking his life. He runs away. He travels south on the trail taken by the drifters who has raped and murdered his cousin, until he reaches a seaside town. One night he sees a girl coming down the road on a beautiful white horse. He has hardly breath while he stands in front of her. He knows he would never be the same again without knowing her. By chance the boy finds out who the girl is. The twenty-two-year-old girl, the untouched cherry, is married to an overlord triple her age and sexually impotent. Then there is the overlord, the most unforgiving master of his own vast holdings yet a victim of his illnesses, who wants the boy’s life for having laid his eyes on the master’s young wife. From this backdrop comes a story of the damned, the unfit, the brave, who succumb by their own doing to the call of fate.

 

TR:  The title really grabbed me when I saw it.  Please tell us how you came up with it.

KH:  I was reading The Shurangama Sutra  when I came upon this passage: “One day the monk was returning to the monastery after having spent the day reciting sutras for the deceased. He passed a house with a dog in the yard. The dog began to bark at him, and he overheard the wife inside the house say to her husband: ‘Go see who it is.’ Then the monk saw the husband peer out the slit in the curtain and reply, ‘Oh, it’s just that ghost who peddles sutras and repentances.’” That remark fits the essence of the novel with a tweak for the title.

 

TR:  Both your books take place in Vietnam, where you grew up as a child.  Are there any autobiographical moments in either book, or perhaps something you witnessed?

KH:  When I was a high school senior in Saigon, I’d ride home every day on a motorcycle and pass by an all-girl high school. There was a girl dressed in the school’s uniform—white shirt and knee-high navy-blue skirt—standing every day under a tamarind tree outside the school. We’d steal glances at each other, and every day I’d count every traffic light before I reached her school. In the sound of traffic, the sound of which we both became familiar with, one passed by with a sidelong glance, and the other was left with nothing but a smile remembered. I wrote out that adolescent memory in “The Demon Who Peddled Longing” when the boy ran into the girl on the white horse, and I made the romance happen for them.

 

TR:  Can you tell us something of your personal experience growing up in Vietnam?

KH:  Personal experiences are worth to me only when I can fictionalize them. One day I saw aVietnamese Pedicab-1 xích lô—a Vietnamese pedicab—pass by my house in Saigon and stop when an American passenger got out. He was big and tall and the phu xích lô—the pedicab coolie—was tiny with all bones and toothpick legs. He was taking the fare from the American and, before I knew it, he started coughing up gobs of blood. He reeled like he was dancing then fell flat on his back. The American chased his bill before the wind blew it away. The police came and pulled the coolie’s body to the curbside and put a poncho over him. After that it rained—monsoon rain. Lucky for him he wasn’t washed away by the time his friends came to claim the body. The poor man had TB. I fictionalized that experience in my novel, “The Children of Icarus,” a political thriller, still in the manuscript form.

 

TR:  In both “Flesh” and “The Demon Who Peddled Longing,” your main character set out as young men to avenge a family member’s death. Why do you explore this in common dark thread?

KH:  It had to do with a child’s memory. My late father was the chairman of a major political party in Vietnam. His party was anti-communist, anti-dictatorial. He was betrayed by a party member and was imprisoned by the First Republic of Vietnam for his anti-dictatorial stance. I often wondered what he would do if one day he were to meet his traitor face to face. So I put my protagonists in both “Flesh” and “The Demon Who Peddled Longing” through this predicament.

 

TR:  What authors have been the greatest influence in your craft of writing?

KH:  Hemingway, Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy. I wrote with their influences in my early days as a fledgling writer.

 

TR:  What do you like to do when you are not writing?

KH:  I read a lot more between the long breaks from writing novels. We’d vacation, sometimes to the seaside, sometimes out of the country. It’d be bad if our vacations happen during my writing. But you need to balance your writing with your life priorities, and your family always comes first.

Thanks for taking time to talk about your work today Khanh.  You are welcome back to Teddy Rose Book Reviews anytime!

About ‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’:Demon Who Peddled Longing

Publisher: Underground Voices (November 21, 2014)
ISBN: 978-0-9904331-1-8
Category: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
Tour Date: November, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 296 Pages

From the award winning author of ‘Flesh’, “Demons advocate love‒not the compassionate love devoid of possession and sexual desire. It’s the lustful love. They tempt humans with such lust, and the moment living beings fall for it, the demons will peddle longing to take them away.”

Thus, begins the terrible journey of a twenty-year-old boy in search of  the two brothers who are drifters and who raped and killed his cousin also his girl.

Set in post-war Vietnam, The Demon Who Peddled Longing brings together the damned, the unfit, the brave, who succumb by their own doing to the call of fate. Yet their desire to survive and to face life again never dies, so that when someone like the boy, who is psychologically damaged by his family tragedy, who no sooner gets his life together after being rescued by a fisherwoman than falls in love with an untouchable girl and finds his life in peril, takes his leave in the end, there is nothing left but a longing in the heart that goes with him. 

About Khanh Ha:

Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh (2012,Black Heron Press). He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and the recipient of Greensboro Review’s 2014 Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction. His work has appeared or is forthcoming inWaccamaw Journal, storySouth, Greensboro Review, The Long Story,Permafrost Magazine, Saint Ann’s Review, Moon City Review, Red Savina Review, DUCTS, ARDOR, Lunch Ticket, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Tayo Literary Magazine, Sugar Mule, Yellow Medicine Review, Printer’s Devil Review, Mount Hope, Thrice Fiction, Lalitamba Journal, and other fine magazines.

Website: http://www.authorkhanhha.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorkhanhha
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorkhanhha
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/khanhha
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3059216.Khanh_Ha
B
ook on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23163554-the-demon-who-peddled-longing


Buy‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository
Indie Bound

Demon Who Peddled LongingBook Description:

Publisher: Underground Voices (November 21, 2014)
ISBN: 978-0-9904331-1-8
Category: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
Tour Date: November, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 296 Pages

From the award winning author of ‘Flesh’, “Demons advocate love‒not the compassionate love devoid of possession and sexual desire. It’s the lustful love. They tempt humans with such lust, and the moment living beings fall for it, the demons will peddle longing to take them away.”

Thus, begins the terrible journey of a twenty-year-old boy in search of  the two brothers who are drifters and who raped and killed his cousin also his girl.

Set in post-war Vietnam, The Demon Who Peddled Longing brings together the damned, the unfit, the brave, who succumb by their own doing to the call of fate. Yet their desire to survive and to face life again never dies, so that when someone like the boy, who is psychologically damaged by his family tragedy, who no sooner gets his life together after being rescued by a fisherwoman than falls in love with an untouchable girl and finds his life in peril, takes his leave in the end, there is nothing left but a longing in the heart that goes with him.


My Thoughts:

‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’ opens with a fisher woman finding 19 year old, Nam, usually referred to as ‘the boy” in the river, badly hurt.  She takes him in and nurses him back to health.  He stays and works for her for awhile but eventually moves on.

Nam is on a mission to find the two brothers who raped and killed his cousin. When asked where he is heading, he just tells people that he is heading south to find work.  He eventually finds the brothers that he is looking for, to avenge his cousins’ death but that isn’t really the main part of the novel. 

‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’ takes place in post war Vietnam and is more about the journey Nam takes, that seems never ending and the kinds of people he meets along the way. The title is aptly named, Nam and many of the characters have demons lurking and they are longing. Most seem to just be getting by but know it’s too much to be happy, to strive for a better life.

This is the second book I have read by Khanh Ha and is does not disappoint.  His poetic prose is still hypnotic and I had a hard time putting the book down.  He writes almost like he is in a trance, observing what he writes first hand.  I don’t really know how else to explain it. He takes his readers on incredible journeys through his homeland, Vietnam. Getting a taste of the culture and people.  He examines those deep dark places most would try to avoid yet, you can’t help but follow.

I am not over emphasizing  how good a writer Ha is, too me, he is a literary genius!  His books may be a bit too brutal for high school reading but should be in college curriculum for literary study!  Don’t let this scare you, his books are very accessible to most readers who love literary fiction and multicultural fiction. ‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’ is a must read!

5/5

I received the ebook version for my honest review.

Read the Interview:

Please go to my next post today where I have an interview with Khanh Ha, here: http://theteddyrosebookreviewsplusmore.com/?p=4541

Enter the Giveaway:

There is still time to enter the giveaway to win a copy of ‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’!  You can enter here: http://theteddyrosebookreviewsplusmore.com/?p=4748

‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’ would make an outstanding gift for any literary fiction lover!  You can buy it Here:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository
Indie Bound

Demon Who Peddled LongingToday it is my pleasure to kick off the tour for Khanh Ha and his new novel, ‘The Demon Who Peddeled Longing.’

Book Description:

Publisher: Underground Voices (November 21, 2014)
ISBN: 978-0-9904331-1-8
Category: Literary Fiction, Multicultural
Tour Date: November, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 296 Pages

From the award winning author of ‘Flesh’, “Demons advocate love‒not the compassionate love devoid of possession and sexual desire. It’s the lustful love. They tempt humans with such lust, and the moment living beings fall for it, the demons will peddle longing to take them away.”

Thus, begins the terrible journey of a twenty-year-old boy in search of  the two brothers who are drifters and who raped and killed his cousin also his girl.

Set in post-war Vietnam, ‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’ brings together the damned, the unfit, the brave, who succumb by their own doing to the call of fate. Yet their desire to survive and to face life again never dies, so that when someone like the boy, who is psychologically damaged by his family tragedy, who no sooner gets his life together after being rescued by a fisherwoman than falls in love with an untouchable girl and finds his life in peril, takes his leave in the end, there is nothing left but a longing in the heart that goes with him.

Excerpts:

“Late at night she’d go bathing in the river. He’d lie awake, listening to the gentle sound of water she poured on her body, away from the lantern light, where water was chest high, cool and cloaked in blackness. When she came up, lowering her head to enter the domed cabin, she was a dark figure save the whiteness of her towel-wrapped head. He’d keep still and find sleep hard to come by in the scent of her body soap.”

 “She was a teenager. Then her parents died, one after the other. She stayed with another family and every day she followed the dikes and the canals where hummingbird trees were in blossom and, with a hook-fitted bamboo rod, she’d cut their white flowers and gather them in a basket. From early morning until noon. And she sold them in the market. Then one day by a canal she met a fisherman who was a war veteran, then later a prisoner of war. He bought those white flowers from her on the day of his mother’s anniversary of death. He asked her to bring him fresh flowers every day, and she asked who else he needed to pay respects to. He said no one. One day he asked her to come on his boat and he cooked her a meal and it was on his boat that she saw all the flowers he’d bought lying wilted in a heap at the foot of his plank bed. She could smell their bad odors during the meal. Later she left the family who had taken her in and lived on the boat with the man.”

Watch for my review and Interview on November 19, 2014!

Praise for ‘Flesh’:

“The story is a sensual one, and the love affair in Flesh, too, is carried on in private, but these images have another, darker side.

The prose of Khanh Ha’s debut is laden with sensory details that pull readers into multi-dimensional scenes.

Readers need not worry if they have little familiarity with the political and geographical setting; Khanh Ha brings the world alive for readers with details that speak to the human experience in Flesh.

The themes of this work are sweeping and although only a couple of years pass, there are life-changing events which unfold, for both major and minor characters, in a historical context which will be unfamiliar to many Western readers, and which naturally envelops the characters in the novel.

The outstanding element of this novel is the solid invitation extended to readers, to enter this world which Khanh Ha has created in Flesh.”Buried In Print

“Ha’s prose is poetic as it paints the scene in which you can smell the opium, see and hear the brown of Tai’s village and the busy streets of Hanoi, and feel the delirium of smallpox or his pulse quicken as he begins to fall in love.

From the atmosphere to the myths and legends, Ha generates a novel that will capture readers from the beginning.

‘Flesh’ by Khanh Ha is a stunning debut novel that showcases the writer’s ability to become a young male narrator whose view of the world has been tainted by his life circumstances and tragedy, but who has the wherewithal to overcome and become a better man.”Serena, Savvy Verse & Wit

“Flesh is a dark, atmospheric historical fiction novel that captures life in Tonkin (northern Vietnam) at the turn of the 20th century. Ha skillfully uses descriptive prose, in some instances it is almost poetic,and many of his descriptions evoke a sensory-filled reaction – sometimes ominous. The settings he describes can be filled with a sensual richness or evoke a sense of foreboding.

All in all, Flesh is highly recommended and I’ll be looking forward to what author Khanh Ha publishes next.  I think he is definitely a writer to watch.”Lori, She Treads Softly

“Khanh Ha was born in Vietnam. This is his debut novel. Although the events are violent and disturbing, the writing itself is lyrical and haunting. The events seem to unfold in a dream, slowly revealing the stories that make up the intertwined lives of the characters. This book is recommended for readers interested in other cultures, and what family honor will drive men to do.”Sandie, Booksie’s Blog 

“As I read Flesh, Khanh Ha’s debut novel, it seemed to me that the story is almost dream­like. A dream in that early hours of a hot morn­ing where you are still in between sleep­ing and wak­ing up. Your con­scious mind taps into your unfor­got­ten but repressed mem­o­ries which lash out in vicious force with unfor­giv­ing sto­ry­lines. While not always bad, these dreams have a ten­dency to shape the day or the week with their bru­tal hon­esty and, quite hon­estly, make excel­lent stories.

Mr. Ha is a tal­ented writer; he does a won­der­ful job set­ting the dark, yet poetic, mood and a fine job describ­ing set­tings in vivid, smells, col­or­ful imagery. Each chap­ter reads like a long lost mem­ory, as if Tai was recall­ing his life in an older age and telling the story to a grand­child or an engaged reader.”Zohar, Man Of La Book

About Khanh Ha:Khanh Ha

Khanh Ha is the author of ‘Flesh’ (2012,Black Heron Press). He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and the recipient of Greensboro Review’s 2014 Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction.

His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Waccamaw Journal, storySouth, Greensboro Review, The Long Story,Permafrost Magazine, Saint Ann’s Review, Moon City Review, Red Savina ReviewDUCTSARDORLunch Ticket, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Tayo Literary Magazine, Sugar Mule, Yellow Medicine Review, Printer’s Devil Review, Mount Hope, Thrice Fiction, Lalitamba Journaland other fine magazines.

Website: http://www.authorkhanhha.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorkhanhha
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorkhanhha
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/khanhha
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3059216.Khanh_Ha
Book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23163554-the-demon-who-peddled-longing


Buy‘The Demon Who Peddled Longing’:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository
Indie Bound

This giveaway is open internationally and is for the winner’s choice of print or ebook however, pint is available to the U.S. only.  This giveaway ends on December 10, 2014.  Please use Rafflecopter to enter.

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Follow the Tour:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 6 Spotlight & Giveaway
Black Heart Magazine Nov 7 Review
Pinky’s Favorite Reads Nov 10 Excerpt
Savvy Verse & Wit Nov 11 Interview
Inspire to Read Nov 12Excerpt
Oh,For the Hook Of a Book Nov14 Review & I
She Trends Softly Nov 17 Review
Flashlight Commentary Nov 18 Review
Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus  Nov 19 Review & Interview
Cassandra M’s Place Nov 20 Review & Giveaway
Manic Mama of 3 Nov 21 Review
Mary’s Cup of Tea Nov 24 Review
Book Dilettante Nov 25 Review & Giveaway
The Year In Books Nov 26 Review
A Bookish Affair Nov 27Review
My Devotional Thoughts Dec1 Review
What U Talking Bout Willis? Dec 1 Excerpt
Deal Sharing Aunt Dec 3 Review
Savvy Verse & Wit Dec 3 Review
Two Children and a Migraine Dec 4 Review
Buried In Print Dec 5 Review
True Book Addict Dec 9 Interview
Indie Reviews Behind the Scenes Jan 11 11am cst/12pm est Live