Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls

Soldier Lily Peace and Pearls Short Synopsis of Soldier Lily Peace and PearlsThe novel begins in with the decision of Dr Han Thieu who is terminally ill with cancer to secretly take her own life She does this in the belie

  • Title: Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls
  • Author: Con Cú
  • ISBN: 9780987964182
  • Page: 156
  • Format: Paperback
  • Short Synopsis of Soldier, Lily, Peace and PearlsThe novel begins in 1994 with the decision of Dr Han Thieu, who is terminally ill with cancer, to secretly take her own life She does this in the belief that it will spare her family the impact of her drawn out death The chapter alludes to the main characters in the novel and to the traumas that her family has already undShort Synopsis of Soldier, Lily, Peace and PearlsThe novel begins in 1994 with the decision of Dr Han Thieu, who is terminally ill with cancer, to secretly take her own life She does this in the belief that it will spare her family the impact of her drawn out death The chapter alludes to the main characters in the novel and to the traumas that her family has already undergone Her daughter Minh Chau is one of the three protagonists in the novel.The novel then goes back to April 1975 when the communist forces in Cambodia and South Vietnam take power The lives of the eight year old Vietnamese Chinese boy, Quan Phoc, in Phnom Penh and of Han Thieu s two year old daughter Minh Chau in Saigon change radically when the two cities fall to the Communists The Khmer Rouge send Quan s family to a collective farm in the distant countryside Quan s father is worked and starved to death and his mother is brutally raped to death Quan and his sister, Hue, survive the farm thanks to Quan s ability to endear himself to the Khmer Rouge guards Minh Chau s family attempts unsuccessfully to flee Saigon Her father, a South Vietnamese army officer is sent to a re education camp and the rest of the family is imprisoned Quan and sister are liberated from the farm when the Vietnamese army invades Cambodia in 1978 Traveling down the Mekong River, they try to escape Indochina by sea Near death, they are rescued by a boat of Vietnamese refugees heading to Malaysia.After Dr Han Thieu saves the life of a senior Communist official, the Thieu family are also given a chance to escape by sea During the voyage, five year old Minh Chau is faced with the moral dilemma of saving her sister, An, from death, at the expense of the life of a neighbour and friend This leaves her emotionally scarred In Pulau Bidong camp in Malaysia, the Thieu family adopts Quan and Hue, and Quan is assigned the role to protect the girls in the family When Quan is forced to kill Dahan, a drunken Malaysian camp guard, in order to save Minh Chau and his sister Hue, his chances for re settlement in Canada with the Thieu family are dashed The Thieu family go to Quebec City with the hope that the Canadian authorities will later accept Quan despite the killing of the guard The Pulau Bidong chapters are marked by touching anecdotes of interaction between the camp s children, the mystery of Chinese traditional medicine and swift action scenes as Quan defends the young girls from Dahan.In Canada, Mathieu Hibou, a soft spoken university student from New Carlisle, Quebec is asked by his cousin, Marie Christine, who was a friend of Han Thieu in Saigon, to help the Thieu family integrate into Canadian society Mathieu devotes himself to the family and helps Han re certify as a doctor in Canada The Quebec chapters are a combination of humourous anecdotes about the discovery by Minh Chau and An of their new country It is also a touching expos about the hardships and success of Boat People in Canada Denied entry to Canada, Quan and his sister escape to Bangkok where to survive, Quan becomes part of a Chinese Triad, smuggling drugs into Europe When the Triad sends Quan five years later to Canada on a mission to check out the possibility of smuggling heroin into the USA via Canada, he is discovered in Montreal by Minh Chau and her father, Voang Voang convinces Quan to abandon his life of crime and re join the family in Quebec City The Triad is outraged when Quan suddenly disappears and relentlessly attempts to find him For one year, Quan escapes discovery by the Triad, but eventually he is forced to flee Quebec to protect the Thieu family This breaks Minh Chau s heart, who then as a young adolescent rebels against her family whom she feels did not protect Quan.In the meantime, Mathieu Hibou has fallen in love with a beautiful Rwandan student, Denise Hazikimana They marry in New Carlisle, his hometown in the Gasp Peninisula, with the blessing of his adopted Vietnamese family Minh Chau, one of the flower girls, offers the couple a very symbolic gift The couple moves then to Denise s native Rwanda where Mathieu works in agricultural development and Denise becomes a noted TV commentator In 1994, Mathieu, on a trip to Montreal, arrives just after Han Thieu has committed suicide Then political chaos strikes Rwanda where Denise, a Tutsi, and their son tienne have remained behind Mathieu returns to Kigali to discover that his wife and son have vanished, and Hutu extremists are systematically exterminating Tutsis and moderate Hutus The death of Han Thieu sends her daughter, Minh Chau, into a deep depression Her father, Voang, decides that only Quan can bring his daughter out of this depression He finds Quan, hiding out in British Columbia, and convinces him to return to Montreal to save Minh Chau When Quan returns, Minh Chau, now 22, throws herself at him and becomes his lover.Mathieu, devastated by the murder of his family, leaves Africa to work for UNDP in the Gaza Strip Tragedy strikes again when his employee and potential partner, Salwa, is killed after a suicide bomber attacks an Israeli roadblock Several years pass Mathieu returns to Canada to work for the development agency of the Canadian government, CIDA There he finds that Minh Chau, whom he has not seen for many years, is one of his new colleagues Quan has abandoned Minh Chau the previous year in a jealous fit Mathieu, now 50, and Minh Chau, 35, resume the friendship from many years ago, and in time, love fills the void in both their lives The sudden illness of Minh Chau s father draws them even closer They consummate their love just before Quan returns from Paris to see his adopted father and to attempt to reconcile with Minh Chau Quan is discovered by his arch enemy in the Triad, Tao Tsao, when he visits Voang in the hospital In a mix up, Voang is kidnapped instead of Quan Mathieu tries to save Voang, but is too taken captive Quan then decides to save Voang and Mathieu by sacrificing his own life.The novel ends in a life affirming epilogue set in an idyllic park in Saigon.Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls is a novel about how human beings confront personal traumas differently throughout their lives, strengthen their personalities in different ways, and experience kindness as the noblest of human actions It is also a story of love and personal growth a voyage on troubled waters, with each seeing the others at times from a distance and then in the closest of relationships.The novel is suitable for a general readership, particularly readers attracted to the contemporary history of Vietnam, Cambodia, Canada and Rwanda and to issues of moral dilemma and philosophies of life It is also romance fiction with the strengthening of mutual attraction culminating in passionate love scenes At the same time, there are several humourous and entertaining anecdotes in the early chapters when Minh Chau and Quan are still children.

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    588 Comment

    • Sarah Lane says:

      Highly recommended!Soldier, Lily, Peace & Pearls is a story that spans multiple decades and continents as it tells the story of a family of boat people from Indochina, who eventually make their way to Canada. An epic and well-executed novel of ambitious scope, this story is at its heart about the wisdom of kindness, no matter what darkness and trauma life may bring."Life is a shell,That we must fill, With kindness,Only love brings us, Out of the shell, Only death,Closes it on us,For eternity [...]

    • Phyllis says:

      Review – ‘Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls.’ by Con Cú An eloquent mix of the beauty and horror of life, and the triumph of human spirit amidst the tortuous and bloodier wars of recent times. A lively exploration of the human traits of hidden desires and profound love intertwined with the numbing atrocities that arise during war and corruption. Relationships span both exotic and familiar locales, a brilliant mosaic of human diversity and experience. Life’s wisdoms are revealed through go [...]

    • Nicole Chardenet says:

      Soldier, Lily, Peace & Pearls is the kind of story that appeals to me these days - people who are in way worse circumstances than I overcoming the odds. I also found it historically interesting in that I remember the days of the Vietnamese 'boat people', and our church "adopted" a Vietnamese family around 1980 or so. This story gives me a better idea of what they must have gone through. The scene where the little girl needs to make a lightning-quick life-of-death decision for the survival of [...]

    • Lannguyen v. says:

      Having experienced the Vietnam War first hand, I find this novel authentic and the characters believable. Kudos to the author for his thorough historical research and fine understanding of the Vietnamese mentality. In a mere 200+ pages, the novel succeeds in capturing the turbulent spirits of those years. This is an accomplishment not many writers can claim!

    • Alex Binkley says:

      Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls by author Con Cu tells the tale of the Thieus, a Vietnamese family who fled the post war chaos of their country for a fresh start in Canada. The author also gives us an unsettling reminder of the physical and mental devastation that war leaves on civilian populations. Think of other conflicts in more recent years—Central Africa, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Egypt, Venezuela and the Ukraine—where millions of people died or fled the same kind of violence an [...]

    • Deux Voiliers says:

      Readers’ Reviews from deuxvoiliersThis story spans many countries and many people's lives. Con Cú provides poignant insight into the human condition with his scholarly ear on world history and politics while telling a tale of several brave souls who were forced to face serious hardships in the struggle to escape their occupied country. Also depicted are glimpses of hardened villains and the raw depravity of the human race, and yet moments of passion and endearing tenderness mixed with authent [...]

    • Mike says:

      This first novel is a web of relationships, following the links of romance, passion, and hardship between two families from Cambodia and Vietnam, and then with key players in Vancouver, Montreal, and even Germany. It opens with the death of Han Thieu, an end for her but a beginning for the reader as there are enough teasers given that we want to unravel the threads connecting to her. The web of relationships is spread out over a backdrop of war, of atrocities and injustices. We move from the Khm [...]

    • Cindy Smith says:

      This is a powerfully written book that follows the lives of 4 young people. They meet when South Vietnam falls and tells their struggles to escape to a new life. It is the story of love, honor, bigotry and hate. The abuse of power by the conquerors and also by the people who are supposed to be aiding in the rescue attempts. By incorporating Rwanda and the Gaza strip, Con Cu has shown that these traits are universal. I loved his statement that individuals are responsible for their own acts, entir [...]

    • Martin Bueno says:

      Review: Soldier, Lily, Peace & Pearls, by Con CuA heartwarming story of an educated family transcending the violence of war-torn Vietnam to North America. Con Cu writes with compassion and understanding following the lovely Minh Chau from childhood to maturity; from Indochina to Canada. The novel’s plotline weaves and intersects as it deftly explores the depth of all its characters. When I finished reading Soldier, Lily – I felt like I had made friends with a Vietnamese family.Martin Bue [...]

    • Deux Voiliers says:

      This is a touching story with the potential of becoming a much loved classic.

    • Zrinka Jelic says:

      Could not get into this book. Sorry. Have to give up.

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