“If I die, I forgive you: if I recover, we shall see.”
“A strange, extraordinary book, something between a quest and a fable.”—Washington Writers' Publishing House
“Reading Khanh Ha's second novel, The Demon Who Peddled Longing, is like walking through a vivid painting of the Mekong Delta in southwestern Vietnam.
The theme of the reciprocity of benevolence between the characters endows the novel with a humanitarian perspective. Ha's adherence to a gritty and believable story world, paradoxically, emphasizes and reinforces this theme while at the same time providing a dramatic juxtaposition of the opposing tendencies within Nam to both save lives and take them. It is this unique quality of Ha's writing that makes the novel not only one that is difficult to put down, but also one that forces readers to examine their own internal confluence of thought through the presentation of Nam's struggles in an exotic and enigmatic landscape.”—Ryan Hubble, Moon City Review
“An absolute joy, without the contrivance of undue complexity, Khanh Ha delivers not only an emotive read, but an exquisite and beautifully observed image of a world few of us will see with such absolute clarity. Recommended without reservation, The Demon Who Peddled Longing is highly deserving of your attention whilst BookViral has no hesitation in naming Khanh Ha our fourth ever author of choice.”—Book Viral
“The Demon Who Peddled Longing is more than a novel, more than the story of a boy and his journey into adulthood; it is a showpiece of modern literature, offering its readers a visually stunning experience, with the assistance of the author's impressive descriptive writing style. This is the kind of book that pays tribute to the reader instead of the author, kind of like the ones that gave birth to the theory of reading back in the 1960s, a poetic portrayal of a journey that peddles longing, bravery, tragedy, love, and most of all, the rite of passage into adulthood.
By making his book appeal to all types of readers, from philosophy lovers to fans of coming-of-age novels, Khanh Ha has created a magnum opus that will only be enhanced by the passing of years.”—Readers' Favorite
“Quite simply a beautifully written book that taps into the deepest reaches of the imagination. The prose are eloquent, the characters are sublime and it deserves to be topping best seller lists.”—Goodreads
“Khanh Ha's Flesh, a visceral and harrowing read, serves as a brilliant companion for his new novel. Perhaps no sense is more integrally rooted in the story than the sights which are often both beautiful and harsh in the same instance.
The setting is water-soaked, with its riverside markets and riverboats, creating the impression of a narrative which weeps.
Writers like Khanh Ha take the reader into ordinary and glorious places.”—Buried In Print
“The Demon Who Peddled Longing reads much like an odyssey. The odyssey of a haunted Vietnamese boy seeking the murderers of his beloved cousin. His journey brings him into contact with a series of well-drawn characters: a lustful fisherwoman, a boil-ridden invalid, and a fickle young lady whose heart he tries to win. Like the title suggests, these characters are hobbled by longings that threaten to undo them. Set against a lush and tropical background, the boy must eventually come to terms with his own demon and the incompatibility of the vengeance he seeks. As poetic as Homer, as stark as Cormac McCarthy, The Demon Who Peddled Longing is a must read. ”—James Hanna, The Sand Hill Review
“Compelling and beautifully written, Khanh Ha's The Demon Who Peddled Longing is a dark and complex tale of revenge and redemption, a richly accomplished story set in a land still wounded by war.”—Stephen Evans, author of The Marriage of True Minds
“In The Demon Who Peddled Longing, the uncoiling of destiny occurs through karmically determined deployment of detail. Set in Vietnam, an unnamed protagonist journeys through a Faulknerian dreamscape where redemption arises out of violence and beauty blossoms from the mire of loss. From the outset, the world of Khanh Ha's novel worlds his characters and, in rare achievement, it is able to world, through a mesmerizing rhythm of language, the reader as well. That this novel is an artistic triumph is an understatement.”—John M. Gist, Red Savina Review
“As with his debut novel, Flesh, Ha's writing is sweeping and lyrical . . . the story takes its time unfolding in an epic cinematic sprawl that emphasizes sensory details as much as a sense of the unknown . . . Ha delivers well-drawn characters and a suspenseful storyline that will keep readers turning pages.”—Laura Roberts, Black Heart Magazine
“This is another exquisitely written novel with poetic prose and descriptions . . .a beautifully written, descriptive novel that it's difficult to reconcile the elegance of the writing with the equally present determination Nam has to find and kill the men who murdered his cousin. . . . It's this juxtaposition and the dexterity in which it is presented that elevates The Demon Who Peddled Longing to my highest recommendation.”—Lori N. Lutes, She Treads Softly
“This is the second book I have read by Khanh Ha and he does not disappoint. His poetic prose is still hypnotic and I had a hard time putting the book down. He writes almost like he is in a trance. He examines those deep dark places most would try to avoid, yet you can't help but follow. I am not over emphasizing how good a writer Ha is. Too me, he is a literary genius!”—Teddy Rose Book Reviews
“Everything that occurs in The Demon Who Peddled Longing jumps off the page, thanks to Ha's vivid and poetic prose, and to his deep, intimate knowledge of the Vietnamese people. Ha not only knows how they live and work, but what they love, fear, despise and hold dear. Without a shred of sentimentality or falsity, he paints a memorable portrait of Viet Nam, a country with a life-force that seemingly will never be extinguished.”—Willard Manus, Lively Arts
“The Demon Who Peddled Longing is, like the title of the novel, a highly evocative, poetic work. Khanh Ha's descriptions of the physical environment are lushly poetic; the river, the fields, the vegetation form an intrinsic backdrop to Nam's journey, and beautifully complement the longing and love that propel the boy onward. A lovely novel by a refreshingly original author.”—Literary Fiction Book Review
“Lyrically descriptive, the book takes you to an unfamiliar land that gradually becomes more and more real.This is almost a coming of age story as much as an odyssey, and a story of a young man's unholy pilgrimage to seek retribution for the wrong done to the young woman, his cousin. How he changes and matures toward the end of his journey is an intriguing part of the novel. ”—Book Dilettante
“The novel is very atmospheric and heavy at times . . . [It] is about the darkness that can hover over our lives, and how we each can choose to bow to that pressure or stand up to it. Part quest and part fable, Ha has created a rich journey through the towns, canals, and fishing hamlets of post-war Vietnam. . . . Personal demons to actual struggles with evil outside of ourselves can mark our journeys, but they do not have to define who we are. ”—Savvy Verse & Wit
“The Demon Who Peddled Longing, by Khanh Ha is a quiet, deceivingly simple book that resonates with deep truths and experience. There is beautiful imagery of river flowers and open horizons . . . Ha's writing draws one in to the expansive marshland and river ways that make up the southeast Asian way of life. The landscape—with its waterways and oceans—is a vast presence in the novel, perhaps even another character. ”—Foreword Reviews
“The Demon Who Peddled Longing is truly a literary masterpiece. Utilizing very immersive visuals and the imprint the senses leaves on each of us, the novel delivers an unconventional epic of vengeance, longing, and compassion.
Khanh Ha is masterful and unmatched in his ability to show how violence can lead to atonement and how, like a lotus flower, beauty can arise from the deepest depths of darkness. His writing style and structure is something unseen before, giving the reader a more realistic story of how no one is in complete control of their life's path and how compassion and redemption can still arise out of the darkness of longing and oppression.”—Nassem Al-Mehairi, Seize The Moment
". . . reading of any kind is on the decline. Half the American people never read a newspaper. Half never vote for President. One hopes it is the same half."
Read Chapters 1 & 2
"I would be a liar, a hypocrite, or a fool—and I'm not any of those—to say that I don't write for the reader. I do. But for the reader who hears, who really will work at it, going behind what I seem to say. So I write for myself and that reader who will pay the dues."
Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh (2012, Black Heron Press). He is a five-time Pushcart nominee, a Best Indie Lit New England nominee, and the recipient of Greensboro Review's 2014 ROBERT WATSON LITERARY PRIZE IN FICTION. His work, The Demon Who Peddled Longing, was honored by Shelf Unbound as a NOTABLE INDIE BOOK.
"A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses."
- Trade Paperback: 296 pages / $13.99 / 8.5 x 0.62 x 5.5 inches / ISBN: 978-0-9904331-1-8
- Genre: Literary, Multicultural Fiction Publisher: Underground Voices (November 21, 2014)
- Hardcover: 368 pages / $25.95 / 8.5 x 1.3 x 5.5 inches / ISBN: 9780930773885
- Genre: Literary, Multicultural Fiction Publisher: Black Heron Press (June 15, 2012)
“An auspicious debut by Vietnam-born Khanh Ha.”—Alan Caruba, National Book Critics Circle
“Dark, violent, and poetic saga . . .”—Publishers Weekly
“Almost dreamlike . . .” —Seattle Post Intelligencer
“A great poetic talent . . .” —Fighting Monkey Press
“A love story imbued with urgency and atonement and suffused with a dream-like quality.”—Elohi Gadugi Journal
“Readers who enjoy epic sagas set in faraway lands will find absorbing satisfaction here.”—Library Journal
“Flesh is a different kind of story, a powerful yet beautifully written, dark, dystopian fiction.”—Flashlight Commentary
“If you are looking for a book this year for your bookclub, consider Flesh by Khanh Ha.”—A Book Lover's Library
“It is the kind of the book that rests on the border between entertainment and art.”—A Daydreamer's Thoughts
“A lyrical masterpiece by a debut author. . . . A work that reads like a song, imagery is beautiful in this novel, and will have you picturing this world long after you put the book down.”—Seize the Moment
“It is my honor to have been able to review this book by Mr. Khanh Hà, the first book of his that I hope is one of many to come. I cannot encourage you enough to read it, and savor all the morsels, and gather every scent that rise up from every page.”—Paula Tohline Calhoun (from The Scents of Memory)
“It's as good as award-winning literary fiction such as The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Atonement by Ian McEwan, and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Such comparisons come because they all deal with social issues; the novel is propelled by characters and not strictly a plot, emotional ties are made by the reader, and they are poignant, original and haunting as far as thinking of humanity.”—Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!
“Flesh by Khanh Ha is dark and dreamlike . . . a stunning debut novel that showcases the writer's ability to become a young male narrator whose view of the world has been tainted by his life circumstances and tragedy, but who has the wherewithal to overcome and become a better man.”—Serena Agusto-Cox, Savvy Verse & Wit
“Dark and descriptive, this is not a book for the faint of heart. The opening chapter about a young boy watching the beheading of his father in all the bloody detail is shocking to say the least, but like a movie we can't stop watching regardless of its gore. . . . This book just grips us viscerally from those first pages.”—A Bookish Libraria
“I recall a book about a man trying to get home. . . . Since I read this book I've told many a fellow reader about this literary gem. . . . Again, almost universally, when I saw them soon after they too had nothing but praise for the book, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Flesh by Khanh Ha is this type of book.”—Sean Keefer, author of The Trust
“These beautiful, tragic stories are woven into a lyrically beautiful, vibrantly descriptive book. . . . Khanh Ha is also a master of using descriptive detail to create a mood. This mood often radiates darkness and death, but it sometimes reflects joy.”—On Page and Screen
“A lush, poetic tale, Flesh takes readers on a journey far beneath the surface of a land most have only glimpsed superficially in clichéd Hollywood films.”—Book Reviews by Elizabeth White
“The prose often has the cadences and imagery of poetry and shifts between scenes having the surreal quality of dreams and those with fast-paced action. . . . This story grips and won't let go even after the last page is turned.”—JoyStory
“Flesh is a story of shades and contrasts, languid but intense, darkly detailed and quietly introspective, poverty and cruelty, love and sensuality. . . . Khanh Ha's writing is so visceral you aren't just visiting Vietnam, you're immersed in the experience which is both beautiful and confronting.”—The Eclectic Reader
“The best feature of this book is the author's style of writing. . . . There's a certain charm in it that's more at home with what we call 'classics' and hard to come by in modern literature.”—Book Reviews by DDS
“Ha is a master at detailed descriptions to the point that you can see it happening the way the author intended you to.”—Ruth Hill, My Devotional Thoughts
“Reading this book is sometimes like flipping through a stack of postcards of old Annam. Ha fills his novel with beautiful surroundings, sights, sounds and even smells, inviting his readers to take a step back to another time and another place.”—Nancy Oakes, The Year in Books
“As I read Flesh, Khanh Ha's debut novel, it seemed to me that the story is almost dreamlike. . . . The journey throughout the book, whether through light or darkness, is fascinating, violent, and even heartbreaking.”—Man of La Book, Seattle Post Intelligencer