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One of the best known dragonfish is Pegasus volitans, a blue-eyed, brown or deep-red fish found from India to Australia.
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History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! Email address. She view spoiler [lost a husband she barely knew, 20 years ago hide spoiler ]?
Sorry, but who the frak cares? She was by far one of the most unsympathetic characters I've ever read, and yet she inexplicably has caused two albeit not very good men to fall desperately in love with her.
They go to great lengths to hold on to her, even though she's totally insane and wild and apparently has no good traits at all.
Not to mention she view spoiler [ abandoned her five year old daughter in America and never even looked back to see if she was okay. Why do these men care?
Nothing of value was lost. Violent wife-beaters who don't know how to have one functional thing in their lives.
This book is full of miserable people. What a pointless story. View 2 comments. Jul 23, Pattie rated it it was ok. Dragonfish by Vu Tran purports to tell the story of an Oakland cop, Robert, searching for his ex-wife Suzy Hong in Las Vegas and learning she has a long-lost daughter who is a poker player.
He has been "hired" by Suzy's new husband Sonny to find her and there is great animosity between Robert and Sonny. This book did not have a single character who was likable or to champion.
While the book at first appears to be about Robert and his sadness over losing Suzy and feeling he needs to make amend Dragonfish by Vu Tran purports to tell the story of an Oakland cop, Robert, searching for his ex-wife Suzy Hong in Las Vegas and learning she has a long-lost daughter who is a poker player.
While the book at first appears to be about Robert and his sadness over losing Suzy and feeling he needs to make amends, it shifts to long chapters in Suzy's hand about her past.
We learn she is a depressed, lost soul who has flashbacks and visions which disturb her. Her life story is odd and unsettling and I never truly understood her or her motives.
Never able to find its footing, this book meanders along with not much of a point. If there was one, I didn't get it.
This isn't that book. This is another book. It's fashionable for expatriates to moan about the bubble they live in, but I like it OK, in part because I can read more here than back in my home country and also you are more likely to run into people who read books.
Furthermore, when in country X, you are likely to run into people who have read books about country X, which you yourself may have read and want to talk about.
Talking about books is one of the most pleasant ways to talk to people, altho This isn't that book. Talking about books is one of the most pleasant ways to talk to people, although of course not preferable to reading itself.
The Sympathizer! I've heard so much about it! How is it? This book is probably going to be overshadowed, based on its deficit of awards and Wikipedia pages, and the relative infrequency of mention by literary taste-makers.
The publishers of this book are probably lamenting their hard luck, when slamming back the red wine from a box on a Friday afternoon, for it seems unlikely that the reading public will be able to keep multiple promising first novels by Vietnamese-born American novelists straight in its collective consciousness.
About this book: I felt it was sort of like the love child of hard-boiled detective fiction and Call It Sleep, which is not a bad thing for a book to be.
I don't know if the writer had read or even heard of Call It Sleep. In that book and this , the writer does an excellent job dramatizing the frustration of the immigrant experience in the US, particularly, how hard it is to be fluent, elegant, educated, capable of great subtlety and nuance of thought in your native language, but be thrust into our big noisy unpleasant commercial-oriented culture and only be able to express yourself very unprecisely and unbeautifully, making you feel in public like a hippopotamus dancing ballet, or perhaps a man trying to pick up grains of rice while wearing mittens.
The writer is both Vietnamese and a man. I thought it interesting that it seemed a relatively easy trip over the cultural barrier to create a believable male character of European heritage, but was less successful in my sight of crossing the gender barrier to create a believe female character of Vietnamese heritage.
Since an accusation like that needs to be made specific, let me state clearly that just didn't buy the view spoiler [mother abandoning her child because she the mother had mental problems and ghosts of a tragic past.
Although there are exceptions, mothers almost universally hang onto their children no matter what else goes to hell in a hatbox.
To convince me that this is one of those exceptional cases to the iron rule of motherhood needs a lot more fancy writing than is on display here.
And there's also the problem typical of hardboiled fiction, where nobody explains what the hell it is they are up to.
I guess this is necessary to sustain suspense. But I always imagine myself in a book, and if you're going to enlist my assistance while driving in trying to view spoiler [rip off cruel and remorseless Asian gangsters for a suitcase full of cash hide spoiler ] , you're just going to have to explain to me how you propose to do it, elsewise I am going to reach up RIGHT NOW and yank up that emergency brake until we come to an unpretty stop, so I can, if necessary, bail out right now in mid-highway and take the next intercity bus to a place where fewer people might want to slit my throat.
Again, suspension of belief problem, I guess. Still, a pretty good first try. I urge Vu Tran to keep writing, and keep your ear to the ground on the Vietnamese expat grapevine, so next time you won't release your book at the same time as a much more frequently-talked-about book by another overseas Vietnamese.
A couple of years ago, Hong -- or Suzy, as he called her -- the wife of Oakland, California, cop Robert Ruen, walked out on him after he'd hit her.
Later, following their divorce, she reappeared as the wife of a Las Vegas gambler and crook, Sonny, who Robert learned was maltreating her.
An attempt by him to "persuade" Sonny to change his ways was an abject failure. Now, though, Sonny is blackmailing him into returning to Vegas and tracking down Hong, who has made herself scarce from a second mar A couple of years ago, Hong -- or Suzy, as he called her -- the wife of Oakland, California, cop Robert Ruen, walked out on him after he'd hit her.
Now, though, Sonny is blackmailing him into returning to Vegas and tracking down Hong, who has made herself scarce from a second marriage.
At one level this is a superb, helterskelter thriller: I raced through it in a couple of days, and was completely satisfied by the time I turned its final page, even though its ending is ambiguous.
But I suspect it's going to hang around in my mind long after most thrillers would have been forgotten, because it presents not the account of the Vietnamese refugee experience in America that I'd been expecting but a portrait of an American failing -- if he even genuinely tries -- to come to terms with the world of the Vietnamese immigrants, and in particular with the Vietnamese immigrant to whom he was married for eight years.
Most of the narrative is related in the first person by Robert, who clearly believes himself to be one of the good guys; as we get to know him better we realize that, while his self-image is somewhat over-flattering, he's not actually a bad guy -- just an unimaginative one.
The other main although far lesser narrator of the tale is Hong herself: we're treated to her accounts of how she survived, with her small daughter, the trip from Vietnam to the US via a refugee camp in Malaysia.
Although these latter lack the element of engrossing mystery present in the main narrative, they're fascinating and moving in their own right.
There are no true heroes in Dragonfish , just flawed people who are or are not doing their best to muddle through in as honorable a way as they can.
In that sense the novel refreshingly reflects real life. I do have a couple of very minor quibbles about the book I loathe the verb "to ash," as in "he ashed his cigarette into an ashtray," and I could have done without the use of italics for protracted sections of text , but overall it has nothing but my profound admiration: engaging and thought-provoking, it's one of the best and most enjoyable thrillers I've read in a while.
Dragonfish got on my to-read list nearly a year ago but I never managed to get my hands on a copy. Luckily a friend passed along her galley and I finally sat down to read it this week, only to kick myself for waiting so long.
I love neo-Noir and Dragonfish is absolutely Noir in the classic sense. There is a tortured good guy who's not really that good. There is a gangster nemesis.
There is a mysterious woman. There is no happy ending and no tidy solutions. But Tran uses the Noir style and struct Dragonfish got on my to-read list nearly a year ago but I never managed to get my hands on a copy.
But Tran uses the Noir style and structure to tell the story of an immigrant's pain, loss, and identity or lack thereof.
While Robert the cop is the narrator of the book, it is Suzy, his Vietnamese ex-wife, who is its center. Tran makes an interesting choice of revealing Suzy's history through a series of letters to the reader so that you know much more than Robert does about several of the characters.
Even if this detracts a little from understanding just how lost and confused Robert is, it's incredibly valuable to root the story more firmly in Suzy's voice and experience, to show just how futile the men who orbit around her trying to save her are.
It's also full of plot twists and betrayals, a very satisfying and quick read. Not sure if the protagonist is supposed to come across as a hateful sexist and we're meant to dislike him, or if the author has written a misogynistic wanker and isn't aware of it.
Read over 50 pages and wasn't intrigued enough to find this out. Here are a few quotes that made me mad: 'I found I loved her most when she was sick and had no choice but to let me take care of her But it sounded a bit piggish the way Americans pronounced it, so I sugges Not sure if the protagonist is supposed to come across as a hateful sexist and we're meant to dislike him, or if the author has written a misogynistic wanker and isn't aware of it.
But it sounded a bit piggish the way Americans pronounced it, so I suggested the name of my first girlfriend in high school, and this she did give me' 'Then we'd make love and she would whimper, a childlike thing a lot of Asian women do, except hers sounded more like a wounded animal's' At one point he also slaps his wife twice, then punches her in the mouth and then says 'She'd never been as tough as I thought, and now I was the bad guy.
And all this just 50 pages in. What a treat, right? The writing isn't anything special either, and clearly the characters aren't enough to keep me reading, so I'm sorry Vu Tran.
If you aren't a misogynist and just enjoy crafting horrid male characters, I apologise! This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. I so wanted to like Dragonfish. Tran's writing is beautiful. As a novel, however, Dragonfish doesn't work.
It has no momentum. Despite violent acts described multiple times throughout the book, I never cared enough about any of its multiple characters to feel any suspense about whether one of them would be harmed.
Our protagonist, Bob, and another character, Mai, seem to exist only for the purpose of communicating the story of Bob's missing ex-wife, "Suzy" - the character Tran cares about.
Mai - I so wanted to like Dragonfish. Mai - a daughter ditched by Suzy without explanation as a girl - expresses zero emotions and no conflicting feelings about her mother.
Mai and Bob don't have the initial sizing-each-other-up conversation that would have happened if these characters mattered to the author.
Suzy takes form through other characters' recollections of her actions and also through several letters, but still never seems to be real or authentic.
We are told that Bob is a veteran police officer, yet he displays none of a veteran police officer's instincts or thought processes.
He's a character you keep wanting to yell, "No, no, don't go into that room!! This was a hard one to rate because I was really looking forward to this book based off the summary and I was really disappointed.
I really hated the characters. There was not one likable character and I knew this from the beginning with the relationship between Robert and Suzy that I should just stop there, but I kept going because I thought maybe there would be some kind of ah ha!
I understand the t This was a hard one to rate because I was really looking forward to this book based off the summary and I was really disappointed.
I understand the traumatic experience that Suzy had to go through which makes her such an unstable character, but it also doesn't mean you make all the characters and story line that way too.
I kept reading because I thought that maybe something would help with her disappearance and also help to make characters more likable.
I am surprised I even finished this book because I would have just stopped reading it if I would have known the ending would do nothing but leave me saying WTF just happened?!!
Okay, maybe this may just not be my kind of book and I really hate giving one star ratings I obtained an ARC of this book and really enjoyed it!
There are actually two stories and I thought the author transitioned well between the two. Robert was married to Suzy and she is now missing.
He is basically blackmailed into finding her for her current husband. Her life has gone from the devout practicing Catholic wife of an Oakland cop to the wife of a thug living in Las Vegas and the secrets and scandal Sin City has to offer.
As he is searching for Suzy he discovers things and family he ne I obtained an ARC of this book and really enjoyed it! As he is searching for Suzy he discovers things and family he never knew about her.
Meanwhile Suzy is telling her story of coming to the US from Vietnam in letters to her daughter. That helps you understand her as a person and her honor with her heritage.
I would highly recommend this thrilling read. Underneath the thriller aspect of the story there is the human nature aspect and question of how well do we actually know someone?
I still have a few Suzy things to figure out! Literary Thriller. Crime Fiction. Whatever you want to call it, it's riveting and unfurls like the best crime fiction should.
Sometimes slowly for that slow burn, sometimes abruptly sending you reeling with its plot. Suzy, Robert's Vietnemese wife leaves him. Two years later, she disappears again from her new husband.
The new husband, a violent Vietnemese criminal blackmails Robert, a policeman, into finding her for him. Through this case, he finds out more about the enigm Murder.
Through this case, he finds out more about the enigmatic Suzy, going into historical moments like the fall of Saigon, a refugee camp in Malaysia, and a plethora of sins that could unravel everything.
In classic noir, as soon as Robert gets closer, that's when the tensions highest and we're pulled back.
A fantastically crafted tale that weaves in lots of intrigue and a good dollop of history. Disappointing given the cover blurb. I should have read the negative reviews before investing my time.
The slow pacing and the boatloads of unrelated flashbacks do not jive with my idea of a thriller. Lots of detailed descriptions of this and that but I do not get a sense of the main protagonist early on and I do not care for him.
It shows that Dragonfish is a first novel. After slogging through the ending I ask myself what was the point. Nice wortdsmithing and some interesting background on Vie Disappointing given the cover blurb.
Nice wortdsmithing and some interesting background on Vietnamese culture, or it would have been one star.
View 1 comment. Dark, seedy, intense - the underbelly of the underbelly, and then they all go to Vegas.
Sad and lonely story that speaks tons about the complications of relationships - excellent read! I was excited knowing it was a thriller but it didn't give me that vibe.
The story was messy. The thriller wasn't that suspenseful. It had a flashback on history on Susan POV but the connection to the story just felt very forcefully trying to relate.
The side character feel like it was trying to carry the main character. I really didn't enjoy the story, sadly. You'll see why in a bit.
This review may contain some spoilers, just an FYI. This story was told by two different points of view.
The first, from Bob's standpoint, was told in the present. It was felt quick paced without being so.
The second, from Suzy's, told the past in the form of letters. It gave me a sense of nostalgia. Although this story was decent enough, I couldn't quite feel much for the main characters, well except contempt for Suzy.
I did not like her. Sadly, the action didn't quite pick up until the middle of the story. At that point, I was thinking, hell yea, now we are getting somewhere , but although the pace picked up, we never gained momentum.
The ending? What the hell was that? They left everything suspended in the air. Nothing was wrapped up to my satisfaction. Admittedly, I was drawn to this book because of it's cover.
It was nowhere on my radar, but when I saw it at the library, and it fit my need to read a Suspense for a monthly challenge, I picked it up.
I am rarely as disappointed by my reads based on cover, but this time I was. If you liked either book mentioned above, or if you like open-ended books, give it a try, otherwise, choose for yourself.
Mar 09, David W. So I've been making a conscious effort to read more straightforward commercial fiction this year because I haven't really read any for a long time.
This is the second "mystery thriller" I've read this year in which the ending does not resolve the major mystery of the story. Is this a thing now??
If so, it is a thing that I hate. Spoilers So the plot is that a Vietnamese refugee comes to America and shortly thereafter abandons her infant daughter.
She meets and marries this Oakland cop but he's So I've been making a conscious effort to read more straightforward commercial fiction this year because I haven't really read any for a long time.
She meets and marries this Oakland cop but he's kind of a jerk and she is crazy and their marriage sucks.