‘She is a Haunting’ – Trang Than Tran

I’m grateful to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this prior to publication. It was a very different reading experience for me, focusing as it did on Vietnamese culture and it required quite a lot of focus to keep track of who was who at key moments. There were some formatting issues which leads me to believe some elements were rather lost.

Even after finishing, I’ll confess to not being entirely sure how to talk about this book. It was truly a book that unsettled me and the content definitely made me a little squeamish on occasion. I can’t say I enjoyed reading it, but it evoked such a reaction that I feel it’s a book I may return to.

The basic story focuses on Jade being manipulated into spending the summer with her father in Vietnam so that he will support her university costs. Upon arrival, her discomfort in this environment is evident. However, little details given then indicate that her discomfort may have a more supernatural element. Her father’s home seems to be haunted.

As we follow Jade through this experience, we see that her relationships with family are at the heart of the story. The haunting also serves as a timely way to introduce talk of colonisation and to explore attitudes to race and culture. While I have to say I know little of this era/place, it was certainly a fascinating read.