She Weeps Each Time You’re Born by Quan Barry [in Library Journal]
In 2001, on an evening with a full moon –when Asian folklore says a rabbit appears on the lunar surface – Amy Quan searches for a woman in Vietnam, “where I was born in the same year as her, our lives diametrically opposite.” The woman, called Rabbit, was miraculously pulled from the grave of her dead mother on another full-moon night in 1972 and nourished long past infancy by a silent woman who will never nurse her own baby. Raised by two grandmothers and a sometime father and watched over by others, Rabbit encounters the “unnamed dead” in a country torn apart by centuries of domination and destruction.
In the aftermath of war, “the government was trying to create one memory, one country, one official version of what happened.” From single deaths to mass graves, Rabbit reveals the “stories the world is eager to bring to light…[the] stories it doesn’t want told.”
Verdict: Blurring boundaries between history and invention, life and death, even verse and prose, English professor (Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison) and multi-award-winning poet Quan Barry’s first novel is fierce, stunning, and devastating. Readers haunted by Kim Thúy’s Ru, Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life, and Tan Twan Eng’s The Gift of Rain will revel in it.