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Het kleine meisje van meneer Linh

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‘Meneer Linh luistert naar de stem van de dikke man, de stem die hem zo vertrouwd is, ook al zegt hij dingen die hij niet begrijpt. De stem van zijn vriend is diep en hees. Hij lijkt langs stenen en enorme rotsblokken te schuren, als een beek die van de berg afstroomt en in de vallei pas hoorbaar wordt, lacht, af en toe kreunt, en hardop praat. Een muziek die bij het hele ‘Meneer Linh luistert naar de stem van de dikke man, de stem die hem zo vertrouwd is, ook al zegt hij dingen die hij niet begrijpt. De stem van zijn vriend is diep en hees. Hij lijkt langs stenen en enorme rotsblokken te schuren, als een beek die van de berg afstroomt en in de vallei pas hoorbaar wordt, lacht, af en toe kreunt, en hardop praat. Een muziek die bij het hele leven hoort, bij de zachtheid én de scherpe kanten ervan.’ Meneer Linh ontvlucht zijn door oorlog geteisterde land, op zoek naar een betere toekomst voor zijn kleindochter. Zijn kamergenoten in het asielzoekerscentrum drijven de spot met zijn liefdevolle aandacht voor het kleine meisje. Meneer Linh voelt zich niet thuis in het vreemde land, tot hij op een dag meneer Bark ontmoet. Deze praat over zijn vrouw die kort daarvoor is overleden. Meneer Linh verstaat hem niet maar hij luistert, met zijn kleine meisje op schoot. De twee rouwende mannen vinden troost in elkaars gezelschap en er ontstaat een innige vriendschap die alle taalbarrières overstijgt. Maar op een dag worden meneer Linh en zijn kleindochter plotseling overgeplaatst naar een gesloten inrichting, elders in de stad. Hoe moet hij nu zijn vriend terugvinden? Met gevaar voor eigen leven onderneemt hij een ontsnappingspoging, die uitmondt in een dramatische ontknoping.


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‘Meneer Linh luistert naar de stem van de dikke man, de stem die hem zo vertrouwd is, ook al zegt hij dingen die hij niet begrijpt. De stem van zijn vriend is diep en hees. Hij lijkt langs stenen en enorme rotsblokken te schuren, als een beek die van de berg afstroomt en in de vallei pas hoorbaar wordt, lacht, af en toe kreunt, en hardop praat. Een muziek die bij het hele ‘Meneer Linh luistert naar de stem van de dikke man, de stem die hem zo vertrouwd is, ook al zegt hij dingen die hij niet begrijpt. De stem van zijn vriend is diep en hees. Hij lijkt langs stenen en enorme rotsblokken te schuren, als een beek die van de berg afstroomt en in de vallei pas hoorbaar wordt, lacht, af en toe kreunt, en hardop praat. Een muziek die bij het hele leven hoort, bij de zachtheid én de scherpe kanten ervan.’ Meneer Linh ontvlucht zijn door oorlog geteisterde land, op zoek naar een betere toekomst voor zijn kleindochter. Zijn kamergenoten in het asielzoekerscentrum drijven de spot met zijn liefdevolle aandacht voor het kleine meisje. Meneer Linh voelt zich niet thuis in het vreemde land, tot hij op een dag meneer Bark ontmoet. Deze praat over zijn vrouw die kort daarvoor is overleden. Meneer Linh verstaat hem niet maar hij luistert, met zijn kleine meisje op schoot. De twee rouwende mannen vinden troost in elkaars gezelschap en er ontstaat een innige vriendschap die alle taalbarrières overstijgt. Maar op een dag worden meneer Linh en zijn kleindochter plotseling overgeplaatst naar een gesloten inrichting, elders in de stad. Hoe moet hij nu zijn vriend terugvinden? Met gevaar voor eigen leven onderneemt hij een ontsnappingspoging, die uitmondt in een dramatische ontknoping.

30 review for Het kleine meisje van meneer Linh

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh = Monsieur Linh and His Child, Philippe Claudel Monsieur Linh and His Child is a novella by French author Philippe Claudel, originally published in French in 2005. Adventures of a grandfather. His son and daughter-in-law have died in the war and he is left to care for their only child and his grand-daughter. Monsieur Linh travels to a foreign land to bring the child in his arms to safety. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام، ماه جولای، سال 2011میلادی عنوان: نوه ی آقای La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh = Monsieur Linh and His Child, Philippe Claudel Monsieur Linh and His Child is a novella by French author Philippe Claudel, originally published in French in 2005. Adventures of a grandfather. His son and daughter-in-law have died in the war and he is left to care for their only child and his grand-daughter. Monsieur Linh travels to a foreign land to bring the child in his arms to safety. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام، ماه جولای، سال 2011میلادی عنوان: نوه ی آقای لین؛ نویسنده: فلیپ کلودل؛ مترجم: سوسن ضیاء؛ تهران، قطره، 1389؛ در 120ص؛ شابک 9786001192746؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسه - سده 21م عنوان: نوه ی آقای لین؛ نویسنده: فلیپ کلودل؛ مترجم: پرویز شهدی؛ تهران، پارسه، 1390؛ در 191ص؛ شابک 9786005733778؛ داستان، ماجراهای یک پدر بزرگ است؛ پیرمردی، که جنگ، خانه، و خانواده اش را از ایشان بگرفته، و او مجبور است، برای نجات زندگی خویش، و تنها نوه ی کوچکش، از کشور مهاجرت کند؛ مهاجرت به سرزمینی، که در آنجا، زبان مشترک و همزبانی با هیچکس ندارد؛ کاش، همگان، از آدمیان، چنین میانگاشتند، آرزو میکنم آنها نیز، از همدلی انسانها، در این روزگار پر از آشوب، و خون و خونریزی، داستانها بنگارند؛ باز هم یاد دوستی، و همدلی افتادم؛ دوستانی که حتی زبان یکدیگر نمیدانند، ولی دوستی را هماره پاس میدارند؛ همین را سالها پیش در کشور «آلمان»، با یک مرد «اوکراینی» تجربه کرده ام، در آن کشور با همسرم مهمان خانواده ی باجناق خویش بودیم، و ایشان (مرد اوکراینی)، در خانه ی آنها کار گچ و سفیدکاری میکردند؛ همگان از اهالی خانه و همسرم نیز دنبال کار خود، یا خرید میرفتند، و ما دو تن در خانه، تنها میماندیم؛ ایشان کار میکردند، و این فراموشکار نگاهش میکردم؛ زبان ایشان نمیدانستم، و ایشان هم با زبانهای انگلیسی و ترکی و عربی و زبان فارسی آشنا نبودند؛ اما طی چند روز، چنان منظور هم را میفهمیدیم، که انگار همزبانیم تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 30/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 12/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Philippe Claudel's Monsieur Linh and his child is a wonderful, original and haunting study of an an elderly refugee from an unknown war torn country. His son and daughter-in-law have died in the war and he is left to care for their only child and his grand-daughter. This a short book with only 130 pages and therefore not one sentence is wasted with unnecessary information. The remarkable story told within those 130 pages will stay with you long after you have finished the tale. Although I finishe Philippe Claudel's Monsieur Linh and his child is a wonderful, original and haunting study of an an elderly refugee from an unknown war torn country. His son and daughter-in-law have died in the war and he is left to care for their only child and his grand-daughter. This a short book with only 130 pages and therefore not one sentence is wasted with unnecessary information. The remarkable story told within those 130 pages will stay with you long after you have finished the tale. Although I finished this book yesterday, I honestly cannot get the characters and story out of my head and find myself thinking about the story and analysing the places and characters. I love how Claudel crafted the story and the mystery sense of time and place unknown, as we are not told the exact location and setting of the happenings within the story, we must work this out with clues that we are given throughout the story. I enjoyed the fact that I had to think about this as I read the information given. This is a book where the less said about it the better as the reader needs to go into this one blind in order to get the best from the book. An exquisitely crafted short story, a book of beautiful prose and a very thought provoking read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Warning: There is an unavoidable spoiler here. La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh (Monsieur Linh's Granddaughter) was published by the award winning novelist and film-maker Philippe Claudel (born 1962) in 2005. In deceptively simple language Claudel tells the story of two older men from whom life has taken more than they can bear to lose. Monsieur Linh is a refugee from the lengthy episode of mutual and random murder called the American War by the Vietnamese; he is one of the peasants whom all fou Warning: There is an unavoidable spoiler here. La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh (Monsieur Linh's Granddaughter) was published by the award winning novelist and film-maker Philippe Claudel (born 1962) in 2005. In deceptively simple language Claudel tells the story of two older men from whom life has taken more than they can bear to lose. Monsieur Linh is a refugee from the lengthy episode of mutual and random murder called the American War by the Vietnamese; he is one of the peasants whom all four primary parties in the war killed without much thought. His village destroyed and his son and daughter-in-law killed by bombs, Monsieur Linh has little to live for, except that he found his six week old granddaughter safe not far from her parents' torn corpses. Resolved to continue for her sake, he manages to be one of the relatively lucky persons given sanctuary by the French. Arriving in the winter cold of what must be Marseilles, Monsieur Linh, who his entire life had barely ever ventured out of his little village, is understandably confused and anxious in the large, foreign city. In a providential accident life sometimes arranges for us, he sits on the bench a nearly equally elderly Frenchman likes to frequent, for just across the street is the park in which is located the merry-go-round his wife ran before her recent death. Both men, haunted by their losses and living more in the past than in the present, slowly find a connection, though neither knows the other's language, as two lost and lonely persons can. Not unexpectedly, the Frenchman, Monsieur Bark, had been obliged as a young man to take part in the mutual and random murder called the French War by the Vietnamese. And then Monsieur Linh and his granddaughter are transferred to an old person's home (a baby in an old person's home where no one speaks Vietnamese?), where the inmates are obliged to wear identical pajamas and bathrobes 24 hours a day. Linh escapes and crosses Marseilles in his pajamas and slippers, carrying the baby... At the end of his strength, he finds Monsieur Bark. Ten meters apart, Linh is run down by an automobile. I found the boundary line to bathos getting uncomfortably close a few times in this text, but this peregrination across an unknown city culminating in last second tragedy, a baby who never cries, never even makes a sound throughout the book, Linh smiling away while he lies crushed by the car because he found his friend... The puppet strings, which should have been artfully hidden, are out in plain sight, and they are attached to the reader! Rating http://leopard.booklikes.com/post/768...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chantal

    I love this book! It was so refreshing to read. I couldn't put it down so I read it in one sitting. Although it isn't the biggest of books, the story is unusual and memorizing. A must read in your life. You will laugh and cry and you won't see that twist coming! Great, but a very sad story. It gets a well deserved 5 points. I love this book! It was so refreshing to read. I couldn't put it down so I read it in one sitting. Although it isn't the biggest of books, the story is unusual and memorizing. A must read in your life. You will laugh and cry and you won't see that twist coming! Great, but a very sad story. It gets a well deserved 5 points.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Roger Brunyate

      Home [NOTE: I read this in French in 2011. I am copying the review to Goodreads now after having read Fredrik Backman's And Every Morning the Road Home Gets Longer and Longer. No, they are not the same, although both are about an old man and a child. But both are short, both are very moving, and there is a childlike wonder to the writing in both books that makes me think of them in the same breath.] An old man stands on the stern of a boat, watching his homeland disappear into the distance. He ho   Home [NOTE: I read this in French in 2011. I am copying the review to Goodreads now after having read Fredrik Backman's And Every Morning the Road Home Gets Longer and Longer. No, they are not the same, although both are about an old man and a child. But both are short, both are very moving, and there is a childlike wonder to the writing in both books that makes me think of them in the same breath.] An old man stands on the stern of a boat, watching his homeland disappear into the distance. He holds a small suitcase and an even smaller child, a baby girl. His name is Monsieur Linh, but he is the only one to know that, since everybody else who knows him is dead. So begins Philippe Claudel's novella of 2005, so simple it is almost a fable. Monsieur Linh comes to a big Western city where he is put into a dormitory for refugees. The other families feed him, following the custom which dictates respect for their elders, but otherwise leave him alone to tend to himself and the tiny child, Sang Diû, rescued after an atrocity that killed his son and daughter-in-law. At first, this new city seems neutral and forbidding to Monsieur Linh, lacking the warmth, the scents, the colors of his tropical home. But resting on a bench one day, he is joined by a big man who introduces himself as Monsieur Bark. A widower grieving for his wife who used to operate a carousel in the park, Monsieur Bark is glad of somebody to talk to, even though the only phrases the men can exchange with mutual comprehension are the expressions for "Good day" in their respective languages. Although Monsieur Linh does not understand the meaning of the actual words, he picks up on their emotional content, and the two become fast friends, seeing each other every day, with the old man's grandchild sitting between them, as quiet as an angel. There is much beauty in Claudel's almost simplistic writing, as the old man, who has lost so much, finds a new home in the heart of his unexpected friend, just as he makes his own heart a home for the little girl. But just as one is beginning to think that the book is in danger of getting sappy and over-optimistic, other people—social workers—intervene who have other ideas of proper homes for the two of them. The story passes into disturbing shadow, making us think of the inadvertent cruelty with which, albeit with the best of intentions, we often treat old people, orphans, and aliens. But Monsieur Linh has not survived the desolation of his country for nothing, and his determination to be reunited with his friend brings this brief tale to a climax that is both inevitable and surprising. One assumes that Monsieur Linh comes from Vietnam, though Claudel never says. Indeed, having now read four books by the author, I realize that one of his central techniques is to give no more information than is absolutely necessary. It explains his latest [as of 2011], The Investigation, a surreal nightmare in which neither the setting nor any of the characters are given proper names. It explains his two most famous novels, Grey Souls and especially his masterpiece Brodeck, in which the vagueness of some details and the precision of others, in the shadow respectively of the First and Second World Wars, gives a nightmare quality, as though everything is taking place in a confined space by half light. But what comes through all four books is Claudel's sympathy with forgotten people, the collateral victims of large conflicts, and small children. Although requiring to be read as a fable, with a willing suspension of disbelief, this short novella is surely the brightest in Claudel's oeuvre, reminding us of those special moments in the other books when he also breaks free of the prevailing darkness.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    Having rushed around like a loon this morning catching up on my day off tasks I sat down a couple of hours ago with a well-deserved cup of coffee and idly picked up 'Monsieur Linh and His Child'. I read it in one sitting, my coffee forgotten and felt genuinely moved by this perfect little novel. I loved this tale of Linh's separation from his homeland finding himself adrift in a strange country, alienated at first by his lack of knowledge of this new environment and culture and his further alien Having rushed around like a loon this morning catching up on my day off tasks I sat down a couple of hours ago with a well-deserved cup of coffee and idly picked up 'Monsieur Linh and His Child'. I read it in one sitting, my coffee forgotten and felt genuinely moved by this perfect little novel. I loved this tale of Linh's separation from his homeland finding himself adrift in a strange country, alienated at first by his lack of knowledge of this new environment and culture and his further alienation by language until his meeting with Bark. The descriptive passages of his homeland and the murders of his family were evocative and heartwrenching and the playing out of his new friendship with Bark (himself affected by personal loss and his experiences in Linh's homeland) were perfectly weighted and affecting. The unveiling of the true nature of his 'granddaughter' was so carefully placed within the narrative and added even further to the poignancy of the story. A book that achieved more in 130 pages than many books I've read three times the length. A wonderful study of the human essence and how we can all connect at some point with others despite our differences...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alma

    “An old man is standing on the after-deck of a ship. In his arms he clasps a flimsy suitcase and a newborn baby, even lighter than the suitcase. The old man’s name is Monsieur Linh. He is the only person who knows this is his name because all those who once knew it are dead.”

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angelina

    “An old man is standing on the after-deck of a ship. In his arms he clasps a flimsy suitcase and a newborn baby, even lighter than the suitcase. The old man’s name is Monsieur Linh. He is the only person who knows this is his name because all those who once knew it are dead.” This is how Monsieur Linh becomes a refuge in a far-away foreign country. “Nothing is like anything he knows. It’s like being born a second time.” P. Claudel shows really well the profound loneliness and isolation the old ma “An old man is standing on the after-deck of a ship. In his arms he clasps a flimsy suitcase and a newborn baby, even lighter than the suitcase. The old man’s name is Monsieur Linh. He is the only person who knows this is his name because all those who once knew it are dead.” This is how Monsieur Linh becomes a refuge in a far-away foreign country. “Nothing is like anything he knows. It’s like being born a second time.” P. Claudel shows really well the profound loneliness and isolation the old man feels in this alien country that smells of nothing, loneliness made even worse by the complete language barrier he experiences. And then, quite by chance, he makes a friend and that gives him one more reason to continue living. He starts to care deeply about his friend (who has sorrows of his own) although they both don’t understand a single word the other says. But words, as we know, are far from everything. “Although he does not know the meaning of the words spoken by this man who has been sitting beside him for several minutes, he is aware that he likes the sound of his voice, its solemn power. He may also like the sound of this voice precisely because he is unable to understand the words it utters, and is therefore sure that they will not hurt him, they will not say what he does not wish to hear, they will not ask painful questions, they will not go back into the past in order to resurrect it brutally and hurl it at his feet like a bloody corpse.” This short, fable-like story powerfully depicts human trauma in a simple, restrained but deeply sympathetic way with a surprising (and devastating) turn of the plot. It shows us that loss, pain as well as friendship and ultimately humanity have no nationality and although we experience them differently we all hope for healing and light at the end of the tunnel.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    There is not so much to say about this little booklet: it's a simple story about a refugee (Mr. Linh, clearly a Vietnamese) who arrives by boat with his baby granddaughter and is taken care of in a refugee center. He learns to know a man who has just lost his wife, and their gradual cordial relation is very delicate; it shows the great drama associated with loss and also shows that simple human intercourse and empathy is possible, also with substantial language and cultural barriers. To the atte There is not so much to say about this little booklet: it's a simple story about a refugee (Mr. Linh, clearly a Vietnamese) who arrives by boat with his baby granddaughter and is taken care of in a refugee center. He learns to know a man who has just lost his wife, and their gradual cordial relation is very delicate; it shows the great drama associated with loss and also shows that simple human intercourse and empathy is possible, also with substantial language and cultural barriers. To the attentive reader already half way the clue of the story becomes clear. Claudel uses a very distant style, in very short sentences, which gives the novel a timeless character. Nice!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Durrant

    A relatively easy French read from the lyrical pen of Philippe Claudel . . . and a very moving book. In fact, I am tempted to give this five stars, but it might be a little "slight" for such a high rating. An aged immigrant from an unnamed country, probably Vietnam, arrives somewhere in France. He has fled his country in the wake of tragedy and now has only his "petite fille," who is the one treasure of his life that remains. Completely alone and isolated, unable to speak French, and carrying hi A relatively easy French read from the lyrical pen of Philippe Claudel . . . and a very moving book. In fact, I am tempted to give this five stars, but it might be a little "slight" for such a high rating. An aged immigrant from an unnamed country, probably Vietnam, arrives somewhere in France. He has fled his country in the wake of tragedy and now has only his "petite fille," who is the one treasure of his life that remains. Completely alone and isolated, unable to speak French, and carrying his infant "granddaughter" wherever he goes, he finally forms a friendship with another loner, Monsieur Bark. The friendship is unforgettable . . . and there are surprises! This is a beautiful little book about loneliness, the capacity of friendship to transcend barriers of culture and language, and way in which madness may indeed save and even redeem. Claudel's book also says much about the possible isolation of the immigrant. As I read "Le petite fille de Monsieur Linh," I couldn't help but be reminded of a historical account of a lonely immigrant: Jonathan Spence's "A Question of Hu." If you have second- or third-year French, Claudel's little novel is definitely a book to read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve Griffin

    A beautiful book about the possibility of life after trauma. M. Linh and M. Bark's friendship is an unexpected gift for them both. I expect many readers saw the ending coming, but I didn't, and it charged the whole story with new layers of emotion and meaning. It took me a long time to get to sleep afterwards! A beautiful book about the possibility of life after trauma. M. Linh and M. Bark's friendship is an unexpected gift for them both. I expect many readers saw the ending coming, but I didn't, and it charged the whole story with new layers of emotion and meaning. It took me a long time to get to sleep afterwards!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jae

    A beautiful and deeply-moving short story about the trauma suffered by a refugee from a war-torn country, and the friendship he eventually finds.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cookielover

    2.5 because why did this have to be so sad

  14. 5 out of 5

    Abbie

    honestly the ending had me shook, and changed the whole perspective after reading the book. and it's like how did I not see this coming, there were so many hints along the way honestly the ending had me shook, and changed the whole perspective after reading the book. and it's like how did I not see this coming, there were so many hints along the way

  15. 5 out of 5

    Friederike Knabe

    Monsieur Linh softly sings a lullaby to his granddaughter's ear as she is snuggled next to him on their thin mattress on the cold cement floor. Memories of a happier life back home keep the fragile old man awake and let him forget the cold and the unfriendly surroundings in the new country... This beautifully crafted, subtle yet intensely imagined story of refugee life and its bewilderment, memories of loves lost and the power of friendship found, is one of the most deeply touching stories I hav Monsieur Linh softly sings a lullaby to his granddaughter's ear as she is snuggled next to him on their thin mattress on the cold cement floor. Memories of a happier life back home keep the fragile old man awake and let him forget the cold and the unfriendly surroundings in the new country... This beautifully crafted, subtle yet intensely imagined story of refugee life and its bewilderment, memories of loves lost and the power of friendship found, is one of the most deeply touching stories I have read in a long time. Monsieur Linh, arriving on a refugee boat from somewhere in Asia, having lost his beloved son and daughter-in-law during a recent war, is feeling lonely and confused, without the language of the new country, where everything is foreign to him. The contrast between the village left behind and the big city of the present could not be starker. "This place doesn't have any of the smells ..." he reminisces, recalling the beauty of his homeland. His only consolation is his baby girl, 'Sang diû', who he saved and who is now his sole reason for living. The conditions in the refugee dormitory, the hostility of the other refugees, painted with a few skilful and precise strokes, form the necessary background tableau for Monsieur Linh's loneliness and isolation. The old man, with 'Sang diû' in his arm, wanders all day in the nearby streets and the park, worried about crossing one of the wide highways full of cars. Then, one day, resting on a bench, he meets Monsieur Bark, a large quiet man with features that make Monsieur Linh look and feel even smaller. Over time, even without a common language, the communication blossoms between the two men. Friendship can be expressed through quiet regards and understated gestures, such as a touch on the shoulder. Their friendship grows, literally beyond words. In Claudel's perceptive and delicate language, the reader listens in on the two unspoken or spoken monologues that the two friends can only interpret from the changing sounds in the voice or expression in the face. We learn of their backgrounds, their happiness and deep sorrows that brought the two unlikely friends together. One day, however, Monsieur Linh is taken away from the refugee camp to a new residence in another part of the big city... Philippe Claudel, award winning author of numerous novels such as (translated into English) 'Brodeck' and 'By a Slow River' (Les Ames Grises), both outstanding and deeply affecting novels, has created with LA PETITE FILLE DE MONSIEUR LINH a masterwork in its subtle and tender portrayal of two human souls, their pain, and the healing power of love and friendship. His graceful lyrical language adds emotional depth and a fable-like reality to the story. Currently unavailable in English LA PETITE FILLE DE MONSIEUR LINH is scheduled for its English publication in the spring of 2011.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wicked Owl

    An absolutely heartwarming and heartbreaking story of an old Vietnamese refugee and an old French man. Their loneliness and feeling of loss, in every sense of the term, brought them together. And, through the maze of a hostile town, via a serendipitous meet, the two form a very unlikely friendship, one that will be a salvation for both. Uprooting, the pain caused by exile and loss, the many ravages caused by wars all are piercing the souls into thousands of pieces that are re-sewned by a healing An absolutely heartwarming and heartbreaking story of an old Vietnamese refugee and an old French man. Their loneliness and feeling of loss, in every sense of the term, brought them together. And, through the maze of a hostile town, via a serendipitous meet, the two form a very unlikely friendship, one that will be a salvation for both. Uprooting, the pain caused by exile and loss, the many ravages caused by wars all are piercing the souls into thousands of pieces that are re-sewned by a healing friendship. How it all starts : "C'est un vieil homme debout à l'arrière d'un bateau. Il serre dans ses bras une valise légère et un nouveau-né, plus léger encore que la valise. Le vieil homme se nomme Monsieur Linh. Il est seul à savoir qu'il s'appelle ainsi car tous ceux qui le savaient sont morts autour de lui. Debout à la poupe du bateau, il voit s'éloigner son pays, celui de ses ancêtres et de ses morts, tandis que dans ses bras l'enfant dort. Le pays s'éloigne, devient infiniment petit, et Monsieur Linh le regarde disparaître à l'horizon, pendant des heures, malgré le vent qui souffle et le chahute comme une marionnette." A quick read that will touch your heart and soul. Cette histoire de deux vieux hommes venant de mondes différents fait chaud au coeur autant qu'il le bouleverse. Si la solitude et la perte d'un être cher séparent les hommes, ce sont ces deux mêmes sentiments noirs qui réuniront Monsieur Linh et Monsieur Bark dès leur première rencontre fortuite. Et, à travers le dédale d'une ville hostile et froide, dans « un pays sans odeur », les deux hommes aux noms étrangers, forment une amitié invraisemblable, qui se révèlera pour tous deux un salut sans mot. Car, ni l'un ni l'autre ne parle la langue de l'autre. Pourtant, ils se comprennent et communiquent par la seule force de leurs émotions et de leurs expériences. Le regard de l'Autre, le déracinement, la douleur causée par l'exil forcé et la perte, les ravages de la guerre, tout transperce et fait éclater l'âme en mille morceaux que seul le fil cicatrisant de l'amitié sans frontière pourra recoudre. C'est une belle histoire qui se lit aussi facilement qu'elle est difficile à oublier. Malgré que nous soyons loin de la Lorraine si chère à P. Claudel, nous retrouvons ici sa magie poignante et envoûtante du style sobre et poétique, purement Claudel.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This novella presents a surreal view of an elderly immigrant's initial contact with his new surroundings. The writing is perceptive, poignant and moving: He refers to him as "his friend" in his mind, because that is what he really is. The fat man has become his friend, even though Monsieur Linh does not speak his language, even though he does not understand it, even though the only word that he uses is "Good-day". It is not important. In any case, the fat man himself only knows one word of Monsie This novella presents a surreal view of an elderly immigrant's initial contact with his new surroundings. The writing is perceptive, poignant and moving: He refers to him as "his friend" in his mind, because that is what he really is. The fat man has become his friend, even though Monsieur Linh does not speak his language, even though he does not understand it, even though the only word that he uses is "Good-day". It is not important. In any case, the fat man himself only knows one word of Monsieur Linh's language, and it is the same word. Thanks to Monsieur Bark, the new country has a face, a way of walking, a solidity, a weariness and a smile, an aroma too, that of cigarette smoke. Without realising it, Monsieur Bark has given all this to Monsieur Linh. (43%) The lines have a quiet strength to them. I prefer books longer in length, but this novella is complete in itself. It does not need to be lengthened to fill in unanswered questions. I will give it three stars, but I feel most others will award it four. I always enjoyed picking it up, and the details were cleverly tied together. You will particularly understand my last statement when you turn the last page.

  18. 5 out of 5

    manuella

    Oh Monsieur Linh, I'll carry you and your story in my mind forever. This book is about an old man, Monsieur Linh, who leaves his country of birth, devastated by war. He has nothing left : his wife is dead, his son is dead, his house is destroyed. The only survivor, except him, is Sang Diû, his granddaughter, a baby. They both travel across the sea and Monsieur Linh discovers a new country in which he is just an old stranger among others. Throughout the novel, we see the sweet grandpa taking care o Oh Monsieur Linh, I'll carry you and your story in my mind forever. This book is about an old man, Monsieur Linh, who leaves his country of birth, devastated by war. He has nothing left : his wife is dead, his son is dead, his house is destroyed. The only survivor, except him, is Sang Diû, his granddaughter, a baby. They both travel across the sea and Monsieur Linh discovers a new country in which he is just an old stranger among others. Throughout the novel, we see the sweet grandpa taking care of Sang Diû despite the mockery of people. Thankfully, he makes a new friend and they get along very well. They speak a different language but speak the same language of heart. Then, Monsieur Linh and his child are taken away and they find themselves alone again... The ending is quite unexpected, the reason why I enjoyed this second reading is because I was able to pay attention to every tiny detail. Actually, the first reading is about how moving Monsieur Linh is : the way he protects the baby above all, the way he is treated by people, his friendship with the man. But the second reading is about the clues in every page and the understanding of things you didn't get the first time because it is so well written...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This is a great, spare book, much happier than Les ames grises by Claudel. In the middle section, I starting wondering if this book were going anywhere -- and then BOOM, at the end, everything falls into place with a great surprise! A bit Life of Pi-esque in that respect. Very simple, clear French.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bryndís

    This book is a punch in the gut and so comforting at the same time! I loved it!! Short(ish) story at its best!

  21. 5 out of 5

    María

    This was actually not that bad

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rosie

    A language barrier is not a friendship limit

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lippes

    A beautifully told and rather poetic novel describing the new start of an asian refugee in France

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amitava Das

    Claudel is a gifted writer. His compact economic prose carries a great deal of poetic thrust. His themes are uniform across his major works - ravages of war , collective guilt , memory and place in history - and with a shocking twist at the end. This was not as sublime as Brodeck’s Report , but heartbreaking all the same.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Translated from the French by Euan Cameron “Sitting on this bench which, within the space of just two days, has become a familiar little spot, a chunk of floating wood he could cling to in the midst of a strange, broad, swirling torrent. And nestling cosily against him he clasps the last twig of the branch, sleeping its fearless sleep for the time being, without melancholy or sadness; that sleep of a satisfied infant, happy to have found the warmth of the skin it loves, its pleasant smoothness an Translated from the French by Euan Cameron “Sitting on this bench which, within the space of just two days, has become a familiar little spot, a chunk of floating wood he could cling to in the midst of a strange, broad, swirling torrent. And nestling cosily against him he clasps the last twig of the branch, sleeping its fearless sleep for the time being, without melancholy or sadness; that sleep of a satisfied infant, happy to have found the warmth of the skin it loves, its pleasant smoothness and the caress of a loving voice.” Monsieur Linh has lost almost everything: his wife, his son, and even his city, as war has displaced him and made him a refugee in a French city. To his joy, he has one remaining connection to the past and a hope for the future: his infant granddaughter. Brought with him on the rough journey to France, his only concern is her safety and welfare. In the crowded refugee center, he quietly launders her baby clothes, holds her as she sleeps, and in his traditional garb, becomes an eccentric sight to the other visitors. During the day, he takes her out walking for fresh air. “’I am your grandfather,’ Monsieur Linh tells her, ‘and we are together, there are two of us, the only two, the last two. But don’t be afraid, I am here, nothing can happen to you. I am old, but I’ll still have enough strength, as long as it is needed, as long as you are a little green mango in need of an old mango tree.’” It’s on these walks that he finds the wood park bench described above, where he watches the city go by and tries to make sense of its foreign tongue. Soon he meets Monsieur Bark, another man beset by losses, and both find the bench to be their place to come to grips with their pasts and the uncertain future. They become virtually inseparable, despite the fact that neither of them can speak each other’s language. Theirs becomes a friendship made up of the language of nods, shared sighs, and companionship. And when difficult changes occur, this unique bond becomes unbreakable. This is an impossibly elegant novel, one that makes you sort of wistful at the beauty of the words and their meaning. It’s only appropriate that this be an example of translated literature, because the translation of feelings, gestures and moods is at the heart of it, far beyond the translation of mere words. I actually (this is super corny) put it down and sighed a few times…it’s that gorgeous. The author, Philippe Claudel, has crafted something that manages to combine melancholy and sentimentality without becoming mawkish. The writing is lean and powerful and each character retains a mystery. The mystery is what pushes you on to understand how each man will survive their loss, and how mysterious the nature of friendship can be. The novel asks the reader to examine what makes two people feel connected. Does loss leave a mark that only another kindred spirit can discern? Do the words we speak mean less than who we are? I couldn’t help but think that the story would be entirely different if the two men did share a language, and that Claudel may be commenting on how, very often, words can get in the way.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Read my thoughts here: https://bookaroundthecorner.wordpress... Read my thoughts here: https://bookaroundthecorner.wordpress...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Monsieur Linh has no choice but to flee his country of birth due to tragedy and destruction around him, war or some kind of tyrannical regime have made it impossible for him to stay, and so he takes a boat with his grand-daughter Sang diu, arriving as a refugee in a country across the water somewhere. The author does not say where he came from or where he arrives at, making this part of the reading experience, in fact we all had various impressions of where the story may have taken place, my own Monsieur Linh has no choice but to flee his country of birth due to tragedy and destruction around him, war or some kind of tyrannical regime have made it impossible for him to stay, and so he takes a boat with his grand-daughter Sang diu, arriving as a refugee in a country across the water somewhere. The author does not say where he came from or where he arrives at, making this part of the reading experience, in fact we all had various impressions of where the story may have taken place, my own impression very much influenced by my recent reading of Vaddey Ratner's novel In the Shadow of the Banyan and my own travels in that part of the world. Monsieur Linh doesn't leave the refugee dormitory at first, but when he does he befriends Monsieur Bark and so begins a regular coming together, a special friendship despite the incomprehension of each other's language. In a sense we are as uninformed as Monsieur Linh, we follow him into the unknown, share his anxieties and fears for Sang diu and feel the deep and mutual appreciation of the gestures of new-found friendship. When I bought this book, another reader cautioned me against reading any reviews because there is a twist at the end of the book, so I did as mentioned and kept the reading experience pure. There is so much more I could share about how we invest ourselves in characters as readers, wishing things to happen and just as in life, ignoring the niggling instinct. It is a beautiful story and I urge you to read it in English or in French, it is a testimony to kindness, tolerance, suffering and the small but heartfelt joys that friendship brings. Full review can be read at Word By Word

  28. 5 out of 5

    Darryl

    Monsieur Linh, an elderly widower in a small war-torn southeast Asian village in an unnamed country, escapes with his infant granddaughter Sang diû and other refugees to a large and impersonal city somewhere in western Europe. He and his child are initially placed in a dormitory room with two other families from his country, who treat the older man with minimal respect and disdain, as Linh trusts no one to watch over or come close to Sang diû, his most precious possession. Lost and culturally is Monsieur Linh, an elderly widower in a small war-torn southeast Asian village in an unnamed country, escapes with his infant granddaughter Sang diû and other refugees to a large and impersonal city somewhere in western Europe. He and his child are initially placed in a dormitory room with two other families from his country, who treat the older man with minimal respect and disdain, as Linh trusts no one to watch over or come close to Sang diû, his most precious possession. Lost and culturally isolated in his new home, he eventually ventures outside, where he meets Monsieur Bart, a portly man who has lived in the city for years and is equally lonely, having recently and suddenly lost his wife just before they were set to retire. Despite their language differences the two men become close friends, spending most of their days with each other, until Linh and Sang diû are suddenly relocated to another part of town. Monsieur Linh and His Child, originally published in French in 2005 and released in English translation earlier this year, is a haunting and beautiful novella about friendship and love. Linh and Bart, despite their cultural differences, share a sense of isolation and loneliness that is both unique and universal. The ethereal narrative enhances the atmosphere of the story, and Claudel's light but firm touch made this a book that I could not put down once I started it. Highly recommended!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Majella Whelan

    I had a fair idea that Philippe Claudel would blow me away again. Namaste :-) I actually had to lie still on the couch for a full hour after reading this. The unexpectedness of the realisation that occured IN THE VERY LAST LINE OF THE STORY!!! I had no idea. I had to send my mind straight back over everything that had occurred throughout, with this new perspective that emerged suddenly at the very end. Mr. Linh went straight to my heart! As did Monsieur Bark. The zen of friendship. 'Miracles can I had a fair idea that Philippe Claudel would blow me away again. Namaste :-) I actually had to lie still on the couch for a full hour after reading this. The unexpectedness of the realisation that occured IN THE VERY LAST LINE OF THE STORY!!! I had no idea. I had to send my mind straight back over everything that had occurred throughout, with this new perspective that emerged suddenly at the very end. Mr. Linh went straight to my heart! As did Monsieur Bark. The zen of friendship. 'Miracles can sometimes happen,and there can be riches, and laughter, and hope once more just when you think everything around you is nothing but destruction and silence.' I am now in the grip of a serious book hangover. But thankfully, I have 'Grey Souls' to sink into straight away, so Philippe Claudel withdrawal symptoms will not need to be dealt with just yet. 6 stars.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Jane

    It is rare that a book manages to move me to tears, but Monsieur Linh did just that. Even in translation (beautifully achieved by Euan Cameron) the prose is emotional and elegant. The story of an elderly and traumatised Vietnamese man arriving in a French detention centre is deceptively simple and not much actually happens, but in his descriptions of this not much, Claudel opens our eyes to such great pain and despair that I believe any reader would struggle to remain untouched. Monsieur is the It is rare that a book manages to move me to tears, but Monsieur Linh did just that. Even in translation (beautifully achieved by Euan Cameron) the prose is emotional and elegant. The story of an elderly and traumatised Vietnamese man arriving in a French detention centre is deceptively simple and not much actually happens, but in his descriptions of this not much, Claudel opens our eyes to such great pain and despair that I believe any reader would struggle to remain untouched. Monsieur is the third in Claudel's loose trilogy of 'war' books and I have loved reading all three.

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