Category: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Available in: Print Only , 368 pages
Flesh is the debut novel by Khahn Ha. Set in Tonkin (now northernVietnam) at the turn of the 20th century, Flesh tells the story of a boy who witnesses the execution, by beheading, of his father, a notorious bandit, and sets out to recover his father’s head, and then find the man who betrayed his father to the authorities. A coming-of-age story of brutal self-awakening and also a tender love story, Flesh takes the reader into places, both dark and wonderful, in the human condition where allies are not always your friends, true love hurts, and your worst enemy can bring you the most solace.
First of all I will be honest as I have stated before, my usual genre of books that I enjoy reading are, YA, and Paranormal in subject. I have read historical fiction and for the most part have enjoyed stepping away for a time and experiencing something new.
I am in two minds in this review. I loved the poetic way the author writes, I can smell and taste everything he is describing from the country side and the rice fields to the opium dens of the city and I am transported to a different time and space, completely alien to our own time and culture.
For me this was like taking a long leisurely walk. The book was a lot slower in pace than I am used to, and despite the brutal violence in some parts of the book, it wasn’t as horrific or as action packed as I thought or expected it would be. I occasionally lost my train of thought, not knowing in between chapters how much time had passed which I found distracting at times. I admired Tai’s loyalty to his family, and wanting to do right by them by burying them in a proper burial site, and avenging a thief of father that never truly looked out for him or his family. Some of the things I loved about this novel where also some of the same things that made it such a slow read for me, which I will chalk up to cultural differences and the setting of the story. Tai is such a reserved character; I would have like him to have a little more passion.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction, or adult fiction. Its an excellent choice for a book club read.
I gave this book a 3.5 star rating.
If you would like to purchase Flesh by Khanh Ha click on the following links
I was gifted a free copy of this book by the author and Premier Virtual Author Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review as part of the Flesh virtual book tour.