I may not have come across this book if it wasn’t for the fact that Lucy is a friend of my second son… and so he had Liked her Facebook post when her debut novel was published by Quercus – so I Liked her FB page too. Now, this is something else that authors do… they support other authors especially new and local authors. Not that you’d think this by some comments from a few traditionally published authors who seem to think that readers won’t read their book if they read a book by someone new to the scene, as is Lucy, or heaven forefend, someone Indie Published. Truth is, readers will read .. and the traditionally published old guard are the only ones the traditional publishers spend real money on advertising (and those new ones they have forked out some crazy advance for, in a bidding war) so all the rest need support and help to spread the word. The best way, perhaps the only way, is by word of mouth (or review/blog). I prefer to pick up and read a book that someone I know has told me they enjoyed – and I know I am not alone in this.
The book description: From Hanoi to Saigon, a tale of one woman’s search for a better life – and a thriller that strikes to the merciless heart of post-civil war Vietnam. In the chaos and corruption of 1980s’ Vietnam, three seemingly unconnected lives are brought together by greed, fear and hope.As a US Army deserter, Alexander is a man without country; trapped in a life he no longer controls and embroiled in the dark business of trading women. His latest victim is Hanh, a rural girl who moved to Hanoi to escape inevitable poverty and who sees Alexander’s arrival as the answer to her prayers. Neither of them has ever met Phuc – a Vietnamese businessman who backed the wrong side in the war and is now unable to pay his financial and political debts to the Party. But his struggles are about to change both their lives.
Review: Very unlike my own locally-based novels, Lucy takes us to a world apart, Vietnam shortly after the disastrous civil war, a world where The Party keeps an eye on everyone and any white man is likely to be a Russian. Lucy skilfully weaves together the stories of three people, not all likable, but certainly interesting. The atmosphere of watchfulness, poverty, corruption, graft and menace is melded well into the heat, dirt and desperation of life in Vietnam at this time, and this is testament to Lucy’s writing skill and knowledge.
I found that I read this novel very quickly and when I finished I had to go and check on how many pages it had been (I was reading on kindle and so did not have the heft of a physical book to guide me) and it was a full length novel! Why do I comment on this – well, a full-length novel that passed so quickly tells me that it read swiftly and carried me along with its fast pace, even though I had been unaware of it at the time.
Lucy also uses some very effective imagery, like the ‘smiling lizard skeleton’ that I found myself thinking about at times when I was not even reading the novel. All in all a great debut novel and well worth reading.
I wrote most of this blog in the middle of the week and when I went to grab the link today I saw that Lucy’s novel for Kindle is reduced from over £4, that I recall it was, to just £1.63. HOW LUCKY IS THAT? Apparently this is for a *limited period (*so it says on Lucy’s FB, but, no, I don’t know how long – but might be quite short) Here’s a link to The Trader of Saigon.
AND A BIG THANK YOU to all of you who commented on my cover dilemma. Your comments really helped and the cover we have chosen combines the handwritten (on a postcard) feel with a font that does not look ‘flippant’ and instead engenders a sense of urgency. So here is my COVER REVEAL (it looks a bit blurry here but if you click on it it comes up clear) Hope you all like it as much as I do!
How do you find new authors to read?
When you find a new author you like do you read through all their back list straight off, or eke them out between other books?
Do share, you know I love to hear from you (and apologies if your comments aren’t coming up straight away – wordpress playing up … but I’m looking into it – thanks for your comments and your patience!)