AUDIENCE: For readers of Madeleine Thien, David Bezmozgis, Kim Thuy, Catherine Hernandez, Sharon Bala, David Chariandy, Carmen Maria Machado, and Jhumpa Lahiri.
REFUGEES WILL CONTINUE TO DOMINATE HEADLINES IN 2020 AND BEYOND: With the increasingly heated rhetoric around refugees, migrant workers, and immigrants as the next Canadian and US elections draw near, the deeply human characters in this collection are not only revelatory but urgently needed.
WELL-CONNECTED AND MUCH-RESPECTED AUTHOR: Sou is well known in the CanLit community, including by festival organizers and booksellers. There is much excitement for her fiction debut.
EXCELLENT CO-PUBLISHERS: Little Brown (US) and Bloomsbury (UK)
Advance Praise for How to Pronounce Knife:
"Spectacular . . . a poignant, eyes-wide-open exploration." —Library Journal (STARRED review)
"A stunningly beautiful collection of short stories." —Toronto Star
"Beautifully crafted. . . . These stories have a quiet brilliance in their raw portrayal of the struggle to find meaning in difficult times and to belong in a foreign place. Thammavongsa writes with an elegance that is both brutal and tender, giving her stories and their characters a powerful voice." —Booklist (STARRED review)
"Every once in a while, you come across a book with writing so breathtaking that you take note of the author so you can read everything they ever write in the future. How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa is one of those books." —Elle Canada
"Thammavongsa's radiant debut collection of short stories is full of precarity, strength, uncertainty, messiness and life." —Ms. Magazine
"These poignant and deceptively quiet stories are powerhouses of feeling and depth; How to Pronounce Knife is an artful blend of simplicity and sophistication." —Mary Gaitskill, author of Don't Cry and Because They Wanted To
"How to Pronounce Knife is a book of rarest beauty and power. Souvankham Thammavongsa has already earned a devoted readership for her poetry. And in each of these exquisitely crafted stories, we experience the profound emotional effects of economy and distillation. We feel the reverberating energy around each judiciously placed word. This is one of the great short story collections of our time. Do not miss it." —David Chariandy, author of Brother and I've Been Meaning to Tell You
“Souvankham Thammavongsa writes with deep precision, wide-open spaces, and quiet, cool, emotionally devastating poise. There is not a moment off in these affecting stories.” —Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be? and Motherhood
“I love these stories. There’s some fierce and steady activity in all of the sentences—something that makes them live, and makes them shift a little in meaning when you look at them again and they look back at you (or look beyond you).” —Helen Oyeyemi, author of Gingerbread and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours
"How to Pronounce Knife is a riveting, subversive collection that alights within us like a shock to the system. I find it miraculous—and liberating and joyful—that language so radiantly exact can be so raw, so brazen. This is a major work and a lasting one." —Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing
"How to Pronounce Knife is a masterfull collection, written with so much veracity, you'll swear every word is true." —Sharon Bala, author of The Boat People
"How to Pronounce Knife is a book of unusual ferocity and grace. Souvankham Thammavongsa carefully unpacks the aches and aspirations of immigrant and refugee lfe in tight, commanding prose; and these subtle yet shattering stories glow with empathy, humor, and wisdom." —Mia Alvar, author of In the Country
"Reading Souvankham Thammavongsa's How to Pronounce Knife is like finding, at last, a part of you that you had lost and had been searching for all this time. Not since the stories of Edward P. Jones have I encountered such a unified and yet wide-ranging vision—both geographically and emotionally—that captures the spirit of not only a community but of the greater world—then, now, the future. This is a book full of powerful resilience, great journeys, and above all else: fierce, heart-wrenching love." —Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters and Run Me to Earth
“Sharp and elegant. . . Thammavongsa’s brief stories pack a punch, punctuated by direct prose that’s full of acute observations.”—Publishers Weekly
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