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Sunday Scoop

The Frangipani Hotel

By Violet Kupersmith

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Big news this week in my life. My son and his girlfriend are engaged as of Friday. They are planning to get married on or about Sept. 22 this year!!! I think that this is great!! Tiffany will be a wonderful addition to the family!! Don’t tell the kids, but my husband and I are secretly anxious to be grandparents!! Many of our friends are already in this stage of their lives. Today is also my son’s birthday so we are going out tonight to celebrate!!!

This is a book that I obtained from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. This book will be released in April 2014. I read this one on my kindle. This is Kupersmith’s debut novel. This one would be great for a book club to read and talk about!!

A beautiful young woman appears fully dressed in an overflowing bathtub at the Frangipani Hotel in Hanoi. A jaded teenage girl in Houston befriends an older Vietnamese gentleman she discovers naked behind a dumpster. A trucker in Saigon is asked to drive a dying young man home to his village. A plump Vietnamese-American teenager is sent to her elderly grandmother in Ho Chi Minh City to lose weight, only to be lured out of the house by the wafting aroma of freshly baked bread. In these evocative and always surprising stories, the supernatural coexists with the mundane lives of characters who struggle against the burdens of the past.

Based on traditional Vietnamese folk tales told to Kupersmith by her grandmother, these fantastical, chilling, and thoroughly contemporary stories are a boldly original exploration of Vietnamese culture, addressing both the immigrant experience and the lives of those who remained behind. Lurking in the background of them all is a larger ghost—that of the Vietnam War, whose legacy continues to haunt us (description from Netgalley).

These Vietnamese short stories contain an element of the supernatural or ghosts. I read this book in only two days, but I have to tell you this is another book that is giving me flashbacks. One of the stories is about a pregnant girl and at the end of it a cat gets run over by a car. The girl and the boyfriend go look at the cat and it’s head was smashed and the cat was pregnant. Pretty weird huhn?? Well that visual has stuck with me as a cat lover. The story I liked the most was about the two girls that go to see their grandmother. The girl is lured to the sandwich stand by the smell of fresh bread and she does not lose weight. I am not going to tell the rest it would ruin the story.

I think that they could have picked a better title. The Frangipani Hotel is the title of one of the stories in the book and doesn’t represent the rest of the stories. All the stories are strangely weird. I kept reading to see what would happen in each. They give a good look at the Vietnamese culture and their mysticism. While the book was not at all what I expected, the stories are well written. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

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