Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Collection of Heng Souk

When her father dies, Sun Tieng visits his estranged brother, Heng Souk. Yet her frail, elderly uncle, a Vietnamese War hero, is very different from her tough and testing father. When she discovers in his house a notebook written by American POW, Ephraim Luther, detailing his torture by the prison commandant she is startled by what she learns.

Meanwhile, Thomas Allen, still reeling from the death of his daughter and the breakup of his marriage, is told that the man he always called Dad was not his father. His mother gives him a batch of letters she still has from the ‘real’ father, Jefferson Carlisle. Their tragic love story prompts Thomas to find out why his mother’s ‘greatest love’ never returned to her after the Vietnam War.

His search leads him to the notorious prison ‘the Citadel’, and to Sun and her uncle. Despite the hostility of her brutal husband and mother, Sun is drawn to Thomas. Aware that the fate of Thomas’ father is revealed in Ephraim’s notebook, she is torn between helping Thomas in his search and the damaging effect revealing what is in the notebook will mean for them

*May Contain Spoilers*

S.R. Wilsher takes readers on a journey of discovery in his novel, The Collection of Heng Souk. Two people, separated by culture and countries, come together to find the truth hidden in history which takes them both on an excursion to explore their inner strength. 

Sun and Thomas are the two main characters of the novel. Sun is the wife of a manipulative and controlling police officer whom she doesn't love. She struggles to make peace with her past and the secrets that her mother kept since her childhood. Readers will enjoy Sun's perspective and her challenging character. They will connect with Sun through her journey to discover her inner strength. With her Uncle's help, Sun uncovers family secrets and grows into a woman who can stand alone against those who try to oppress her. 

Thomas also discovers family secrets that send him to a different country and a different time. Readers will immediately empathize with Thomas as it's revealed that his daughter drowned and his wife divorced him, leaving him empty and numb to the world. The journey to learn what happened to his real father brings Thomas back to life, his eyes open. He slowly begins to see the that the world still has more to offer, even after his life crumbled around him. Readers will emotionally connect with Thomas as they watch him wake up from his painful past. 

There are two plot lines that come together in a rather surprising and climactic way. Sun finds herself reading the journal of an American prisoner of war and is compelled to know the man her Uncle was, as well as the man he became. Thomas searches for the truth to what happened to his father after he left for the Vietnam war as an airman. When Sun and Thomas meet, they help each other find the strength to face the past and the courage to choose their own futures.  

Rating: 4/5 Cups

No comments:

Post a Comment