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'She Weeps Each Time You're Born' a new novel by Quan Barry



a novel

By Quan Barry



“Mesmerizing . . . beautiful, transporting.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Barry’s fiction debut weaves a chronicle of life in pre- and postwar Vietnam within the mystical and turbulent journey of the novel’s protagonist, Rabbit . . . [whose] tale is deepened by her unique ability to hear the voices of the dead. From these voices emerges a rich tapestry of stories . . . Barry’s rich narrative entwines one personal tale with an evocative and haunting exploration of Vietnam’s painful past.” Booklist

“If you’ve read such classic American treatments of the soldier’s experience in Vietnam as Dispatches and The Things They Carried, then you might discover in She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, as I did, a long-desired and indispensable companion narrative. Rabbit, the novel's young Vietnamese hero, suggests that there are two types of stories: ‘stories the world is eager to bring into the light’ and ‘stories it doesn't want told.’ In these magnificent pages, Quan Barry permeates the one with the other until you can hardly tell the light from the shadow, because every last grain of it shines before your eyes. With a deep sensory intelligence that grounds the characters in their landscape and a prose style that elevates their lives into myth, this is not only a good or moving or surprising book but an essential one.”

—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

“Quan Barry’s She Weeps Each Time You’re Born is lyrical, luminous, and suspenseful all at once. Rabbit’s experience of wartime and reconciliation in Vietnam is one that I haven’t yet encountered in fiction, and it is rendered with shocking clarity and pathos on the page. Like Rabbit’s Goddess of Mercy, who has many manifestations, this is a Vietnam of myriad faces, myriad aspects, beautiful and terrible all at once.”

—Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award-winning author of Salvage the Bones

One of Library Journal’s Six Essential Debuts of February 2015, SHE WEEPS EACH TIME YOU’RE BORN (Pantheon Books / February 10, 2015 / $24.95) is being published in the year of the 35th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, and in it Saigon-born, award-winning poet and debut novelist Quan Barry takes the reader on a mystical journey through modern Vietnamese history as experienced by Rabbit, a young girl born under mysterious circumstances a few years before reunification, who has the ability to hear the voices of the dead. As Library Journal says: “Saigon-born Barry gives her narrative urgency, and her novel is part of a new wave of literature reflecting on the Vietnam experience.”

About the author:

Born in Saigon and raised on Boston’s north shore, Quan Barry is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the author of four poetry books; her third book, Water Puppets, won the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in such publications as Ms. and The New Yorker. Barry lives in Wisconsin.

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