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All Reviews - Lady of the Realm
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...Pham has contrived to tell a personal, human story through her character Liên, while also conveying a philosophical attitude to life based on endurance, compassion and most of all hope. A moving, inspiring read.
Sue Terry, Whispering Gums
Although it’s set in Vietnam, tracing many decades of that country’s tragic history, it’s a calm, meditative book which asserts that peace is possible. I liked it very much.
Lady of the Realm can be read on a number of levels. It begins as a rite of passage story with Liên attempting to come to terms with the foresight the Lady has given her and reconcile her feelings about what has happened to her village with Buddhist teachings about compassion. On a broader level, it is an exploration of the choices survivors make in the midst of war and during the upheavals that follow it. There are few villains here—especially not the people smuggler and black marketeer who risks her life to help people who have given up hope to escape by sea to Malaysia.
Lynn Smailes, Pen Melbourne
The perspective is female and Buddhist, and all that Liên desires is lasting peace, which she seems doomed never to experience. The story of the 2009 destruction of the Prajna Monastery is particularly surprising and saddening.
Kerryn Goldsworthy, SMH
Compassion is quiet, still and deep as a well rippling inwards after we put down this book. We are returned to our shared humanity, that muscle holding tenderly the bone.
Merlinda Bobis
In tender, lucid prose Hoa Pham distils painful decades of Vietnam’s past into a beautiful Buddhist story of hope, survival and the possibility of transformation for everyone.
Nicholas Jose
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