How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa

How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa is a work of literary fiction. The book is full of stories of different people coming from different backgrounds. The book hit the shelves on 7 April 2020 and is published by Bloomsbury. 

You can read more about the book here:

A young man painting nails at the local salon. A woman plucking feathers at a chicken processing plant. A father who packs furniture to move into homes he’ll never afford. A housewife learning English from daytime soap operas. In her stunning debut book of fiction, O. Henry Award winner Souvankham Thammavongsa focuses on characters struggling to make a living, illuminating their hopes, disappointments, love affairs, acts of defiance, and above all their pursuit of a place to belong. In spare, intimate prose charged with emotional power and a sly wit, she paints an indelible portrait of watchful children, wounded men, and restless women caught between cultures, languages, and values. As one of Thammavongsa’s characters says, “All we wanted was to live.” And in these stories, they do–brightly, ferociously, unforgettably.

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Curiosity level: Beautiful, thoughtful, sorrowful 😯 . “When the woman left the kitchen, we laughed at her, how worried sick she seemed about not fitting in with everybody, as if that was a thing to want.” . A school bus driver numbly loses his Laotian wife to her job… and boss? The best worm picker (a skilled migrant mother) meets her match in an unlikely 14 year old worm-picking newbie. An overly empathetic Laotian girl grows up faster than she should’ve, so as to protect her parents from hurt… like pronouncing the word “knife”. . This book contains a sharp yet soft collection of stories about Laotian immigrants and their children living in western countries… Sharp because it cuts through the heart—stories where these immigrants are stuck in nail polish factories 🏭 or worm picking or living in small dingy houses, so that their children can live better lives than them. Soft because all at once we are confronted by their held back emotions, their bravery, their reckless love, and how making a living in a completely different country seems to hinge on all or nothings 😢 . What a captivating book; I enjoyed each story so much, so beautifully written 🤗 Thank you @times.reads for this copy 🎁 . . . . #sginstagram #sginsta #singapore #bookstagram #booksof2020 #booksofig #booksofinsta #booksofinstagram #whatareyoureadingsg #whatareyoureading #readingnationsg #readingnation #booksbooksbooks #bookreview #bookreviewersofinstagram #bookreviewers #howtopronounceknife #timesreads #bookreviews #bloomsburycircus #bloomsbury #laos #asianliterature #souvankhamthammavongsa #laotian #bookstagrammer

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A daughter becomes an unwilling accomplice in her mother’s growing infatuation with country singer Randy Travis. A boxer finds an unexpected chance at redemption while working at his sister’s nail salon. An older woman finds her assumptions about the limits of love unraveling when she begins a relationship with her much younger neighbor. A school bus driver must grapple with how much he’s willing to give up in order to belong. And in the Commonwealth Short Story Prize-shortlisted title story, a young girl’s unconditional love for her father transcends language.

About the Author

Souvankham Thammavongsa’s fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Non-Required Reading, The Journey Prize Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. How to Pronounce Knife is her debut book of fiction, and the title story was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Thammavongsa is also the author of four poetry books: Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, she was raised and educated in Toronto, where she is at work on her first novel.

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