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Wave, by Hoa Pham

July 31, 2015

Wave, by Hoa Pham. Australia, Spinifex Press, forthcoming 2016.


4 stars

A lyrical novel about a lesbian couple, one woman from Japan and the other from Vietnam, who meet as students in Australia and find happiness in their love until their lives are hit with a series of catastrophes.

Hoa Pham is an accomplished writer of plays and books. A Vietnamese Australian, she is active in efforts to make available the writing of Asian Australians. She founded Peril, an online magazine in 2006. She has a Ph.D. in creative writing and also works as a psychologist.

As international students in college in Melbourne, Midori from Japan and Au Co from North Korea initially feel lonely and alienated. Then they find each other and their lives together are good. But their happiness is disrupted by tragedies of our modern world: the tsunami which struck northern Japan and a classroom shooting at their university. As they try to deal with their personal connections to these tragedies, they grow apart. As Pham describes, “we were we until we became you and me” which may be the worst tragedy of all.

Pham has written a creative and moving story using the particularity of two women to address the universal dangers we face in today’s world. Her writing is powerful, spare, and beautiful. Her sense of the psychology of her characters brings them into our reality. This is a fine book that I recommend wholeheartedly.

Thanks to Spinifex Press for providing me a copy of this fine books to review.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2015 7:18 pm

    Thanks for the review. The country of origin for Au Co is Vietnam not North Korea. Can you please correct this. I will then share.


  1. The Wave, by Hoa Pham | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

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