Flesh by Khanh Ha is a detailed historical fiction novel about a young boy named Tai living in 19th century Tonkin. His fight for his family, his quest for love and the search for peace. Flesh is aptly named where Khanh Ha explores all the desires of the flesh and whether they truly matter in the end.
The story was haunting and the details were so vivid I truly lost myself in the story sometimes, feeling like I was actually there. I was so impressed with the amount of research that went into this book. From where they people lived, how they lived, they’re daily rituals and so much more. As I have said so many times before, its the best kind of learning when you don’t even realize its happening. I’m going to be honest. A lot of the information in this book was new to me but now I feel like I know this world, this history, very well.
As for the characters they were very well written. There are no hero’s in this story, there is only brutal and honest humanity. No sugar coating to be found here. Every character is perfectly flawed and you will find yourself loving and hating each of them at one point or another. The main character Tai is a teenage boy and you see how he ages and changes with every decision (good or bad) that he makes. It was very captivating.
The ending was good. But this is where my only complaint comes from. I wanted more out of it. See the book starts with an older Tai reminiscing about his youth but the ending just kind of leaves you hanging. Only a short time goes by in the story and you never know what happens with the rest of his life. There is no summary, no return to the elder Tai to say if it was a happy or sad ending. I guess to me the book just seemed unfinished.
Overall I really enjoyed Flesh. If you like historical fiction and brutal honesty you should check it out too.
♥♥♥♥ 4/5 Hearts: Very good!
About the Book
Set in Tonkin (now northern Vietnam) at the turn of the 20th century, Flesh tells the story of a boy who witnesses the execution, by beheading, of his father, at notorious bandit and sets out to recover his fathers 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 place 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 greatest solace.
- Title: Flesh
- Author: Khanh Ha
- Hardcover: 366 pages
- Publisher: Black Heron Press
Purchase Flesh at Amazon.
I was provided a copy of this book free of charge for review but the opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains our Amazon affiliate link.