I have a really good book to share with you today called The Demon Who Peddled Longing written by Khanh Ha that I think you will find very moving. If you think the name looks familiar, it's because I reviewed one of his other books called Flesh.
Set in post-war Vietnam, The Demon Who Peddled Longing tells the terrible journey of a nineteen-year-old boy in search of the two brothers who are drifters and who raped and killed his cousin. It brings together the damned, the unfit, the brave, who succumb by their own doing to the call of fate.
Yet their desire to survive and to face life again never dies, so that when someone like the boy who is psychologically damaged by his family tragedy, who no sooner gets his life together after being rescued by a fisherwoman than falls in love with an untouchable girl and finds his life in peril, takes his leave in the end, there is nothing left but a longing in the heart that goes with him.
This was a very moving story about a young man in Vietnam that is seeking justice for his cousin's rape and murder by 2 brothers who have a habit of raping girls. He doesn't have much to go on but somehow finds the trail by hearing about another girl who was raped. Plus, he knows the 2 men stole his cousin's necklace, so he figures whoever is wearing it must be the killer.
He meets a lot of characters on his trip down the river, working as a fisherman's helper while pursuing the killers. I felt really bad for him because it seemed like the men treated him awful but their wives or women that he worked for where really nice to him.
While I loved the book as much as I did Flesh, I didn't like the ending. I was left unsettled and feeling like it really wasn't fair what everyone did to him in the end. But, I guess life is like that sometimes, just because we are nice and polite with some shred of humanity, doesn't mean everyone else is.
What happens to the young man at the end of his search will definitely leave you with an opinion. It's well worth reading, even if I had wished the author had given the young man a happier ending. After all, he risked a lot trying to help several people in this story and it would have been nice if he had gotten some of that compassion back!
About the Author:
Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh (2012, Black Heron Press). He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and the recipient of Greensboro Review's 2014 Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction.
His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Waccamaw Journal, storySouth, Greensboro Review, The Long Story, Permafrost Magazine, Saint Ann's Review, Moon City Review, Red Savina Review, DUCTS, ARDOR, Lunch Ticket,Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Tayo Literary Magazine, Sugar Mule, Yellow Medicine Review,Printer's Devil Review, Mount Hope, Thrice Fiction, Lalitamba Journal, and other fine magazines.
Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.