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Ask a Bookseller: 'Wandering Souls'

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Ask a Bookseller is hosted by Emily Bright.
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This week's recommendation comes from Emi Lim Morison of Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Mo.

Wandering Souls
Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin
Macmillan Publishers

Morison says one of her favorite novels of the year is “Wandering Souls” by Cecille Pin. It's a work of literary fiction that follows a girl and her two younger brothers who flee Vietnam after the war and eventually resettle in the UK. The perspective shifts beyond the confines of the three siblings, stretching to include the American military as well as a third brother who does not survive the journey.

It’s a story that explores what we owe our family and what they owe us. Stitching it all together is an unnamed narrator whose voice makes the story come alive, says Morison, and also makes the reader think about who is constructing the narrative.

"It's a short read, but it's quite impactful," says Morison. "I actually read it in a day, then picked it up and started reading it over again because it was still running through my mind."

Many of the reviewers emphasize the ghost element of the novel or label is "genre-defying," but in our conversation, Morison pushed back against such labels.

"I am a woman of color and I read mostly BIPOC authors," says Morison, "and I find that that language is often attributed to stories of people from non-Western backgrounds. When other cultures' truth systems don't perfectly align with that western standard of knowing, it's [labeled as] genre-defying: it's magic, it's a little fantastical; but I like to think of it as a reality, an epistemology that's just as strong and valid."

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