Author(s): Vi Khi Nao
Praise for Vi Khi Nao: "Here I was allowed to forget for a while that that is what books aspire to tell, so taken was I by more enthralling and mysterious pleasures." --Carole Maso How do you bear the death of a child? With fishtanks and jellyfish burials, Persephone's pomegranate seeds, and affairs with the neighbors. Fish in Exile spins unimaginable loss through classical and magical tumblers, distorting our view so that we can see the contours of a parent's grief all the more clearly. Vi Khi Nao was born in Long Khanh, Vietnam. Vi's work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. Her poetry collection, The Old Philosopher, was the winner of 2014 Nightboat Poetry Prize. Her novel, Fish In Exile, will make its first appearance in Fall 2016 from Coffee House Press. She holds an MFA in fiction from Brown University.
"The result is a novel that forges a new vocabulary for the routine of grief, as well as the process of healing." --Publishers Weekly, starred review "The impressions that last, however, will be entirely Nao's own: all the wondrous forms she has revealed to us, the image of them luminescent, flourishing, in the seemingly dark and empty waters of grief." --The Harvard Crimson "This journey across the boundaries of form and genre, to write about what is un-write-aboutable, is a smart maneuver -- it permits the reader to experience what has been written about over and over in a way that is fresh and absorbing in its difference." --NPR "Vi Khi Nao has created a meditation that splits open the numbing and disorienting problems of loss and mourning with language that breathes new life into an old suffering." --The Millions "Nao, who was born in Vietnam, blends prose and poetry in her heart-wrenching novel about a couple grieving for their two dead children." --BBC "An off-kilter but effective tone poem on loss and recovery." --Kirkus "Fish in Exile is a stunning novel that examines how easily we can fall apart after a disaster... Indeed, the traditional narrative of loss disappears in the capable hands of Vi Khi Nao and we are left with a powerful and devastating story that is surprising in the best ways." --diaCRITICS "A staggering tale of the death of a child, this novel is a poetic meditation on loss, the fluidity of boundaries, and feeling like a fish out of water." --The Millions "A magical and fresh perspective on grief, this beautiful book is like nothing you've ever read before." --Bustle "Through mythic tangents and arrest, Nao pulls us through dismemberment, dissociation, and devotion with colossal sentences."--The Fanzine "The language ranges from frank gallows humor to unexpectedly devastating, as if you're at a party exchanging sarcastic witticisms with a stranger and then she suddenly hits you over the head with a brick..." --The Rejectionist "[F]or all the weightiness of its subject matter, Fish in Exile is also surprisingly light on its feet: eccentric, absurd, and delightfully wry. This book wriggles with so much originality and life, it'll have you hooked from the very start."--BuzzFeed Books Newsletter "Smartly innovative, lushly poetic, compellingly told, and truly moving, Fish in Exile is a remarkable, sui generis novel. Vi Khi Nao is a strikingly talented writer whose artistic vision takes many literary forms. I ardently hope she does more long form fiction; she does it splendidly." --Robert Olen Butler "In this jagged and unforgettable work, Vi Khi Nao takes on a domestic story of losing one's children and elevates it to Greek tragedy. Refusing sentimentality and realism, she shows how personal devastation can feel, to the sufferer, as powerful and enduring as myth."--Viet Thanh Nguyen "Vi Khi Nao's language isn't made of words like everyone else's. This can't be true, so it must be that Vi Khi Nao has found a way to sensitize words into a phase change, into a state of semantic overflow. Nao's sentences proceed via floral, clitoral, littoral surges. Fish in Exile is what leaks from the forms literary grief has taken, and what floats away, an amalgam of jellyfish and clouds. I love this book for its texture, its granular absurdities, its aqueous erotics, its garlic paper longing. I've never felt anything like it." --Joanna Ruocco "Vi Khi Nao's Fish in Exile resonates with the unconscious fecundity of myth. A modern allegory of children who give birth to their mother, minnows that push a whale's shopping cart around Walmart, and hospitals that exude an odor of insane asylums and Windex: Demeter, Callisto, Catholic, and Ethos live again in Nao's world, and make new the most fundamental contradictions of life--separation, desire, bondage, freedom, loyalty, birth." --Steve Tomasula
Vi Khi Nao was born in Long Khanh, Vietnam. Vi's work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. Her poetry collection, The Old Philosopher, was the winner of 2014 Nightboat Poetry Prize. Her novel, Fish In Exile, will make its first appearance in Fall 2016 from Coffee House Press. She holds an MFA in fiction from Brown University.