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Dogs at the Perimeter Hardcover – May 3 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; 1st Edition edition (May 3 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771084080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771084089
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.2 x 21.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #332,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


A Globe and Mail Best Book

“If you read one Canadian book this year, let it be this one.”
— Johanna Skibsrud

“The story is so compelling, the characters so authentic and the writing so fine that you race through intently... savouring every page.”
 — Montreal Gazette
“The beauty of Madeleine Thien’s prose doesn’t reside only in its clarity and elegance. She’s a surveyor of damaged lives. Thien, a deeply empathetic writer, enfolds her wounded creations in morally precise language, offering the consolation of, in effect, storytelling.”
Globe and Mail
“This book is as powerful as history, as magical as myth, and a light shining on one of the darkest chapters of modern history.”
— Alice Pung, author of Unpolished Gem
“Thien once again demonstrates a talent for creating vivid, indelible images in language both precise and lyrical...there is a confidence in Thien’s writing that many more accomplished authors never attain.”
Quill & Quire
Dogs at the Perimeter is a novel of quiet and breathtaking beauty.… Thien opens up the hearts of her characters with a precision that is deeply humane, peeling apart, page by page, the secrets they keep from themselves.”
— Jury citation, Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction (shortlist)
The strife in Indo—China has inspired some astonishing writing in recent decades, both fiction and non—fiction. Dogs at the Perimeter belongs with the best of such works. But it also tells a more universal story about being borne back into the past — and the inescapability of history.”
The Economist
Dogs at the Perimeter explores the aftermath of war with a quiet power. . . . This is a beautiful, deeply moving novel that addresses universal questions.”
The Independent
“Extremely moving and honest while maintaining lyricism and beautifully balanced prose…”
— A. L. Kennedy
“Fiction like this, clear—eyed and truthful, can give a shape to the chaos of history.… The quiet elegance of Thien’s writing makes a brutal story powerful and moving.”
The Times
“Madeleine Thien’s second novel offers a gripping child’s—eye view of the Cambodian genocide. Sure—footed when it comes to which horrors to show and which to leave to the imagination, it is also utterly convincing in how it weighs the psychological damage inflicted by a regime that demands denial of family, friends and self as a condition of survival.”
Financial Times
“Madeleine Thien’s powerful new novel reminds us, leaving the past behind is rarely simple.… The bewildering horror of ordinary people suddenly thrown into a world of brutal chaos is brilliantly evoked.…Thien brilliantly evokes 1970s Cambodia, from the chaos of Phnom Penh to the sweltering, filthy work camps, from the interrogation centres to the lush forests. But she’s equally adept at bringing cold, clean Montreal to life, from its icy streets to Hiroji’s abandoned apartment.… Her novel leaves the reader deeply moved and, ultimately, hopeful.”
Irish Times

About the Author

Madeleine Thien is the author of two previous books of fiction, Simple Recipes, a collection of stories, and Certainty, a novel. Her fiction and essays have appeared in GrantaThe WalrusFive DialsBrick, and the Asia Literary Review, and her work has been translated into more than sixteen languages. In 2010, she received the Ovid Festival Prize, awarded each year to an international writer of promise. She lives in Montreal.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"We had to sign our names to these biographies, and we did this over and over, naming family and friends, illuminating the past. My little brother and I were only eight and ten years old but, even then, we understood that the story of one's life could not be trusted, that it could destroy you and all the people you loved." Evicted from their family home in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, by the Khmer Rouge, Mei and her family are forced to follow the long and arduous trek through a devastated country, only to see the parents being taken away and the children ending up in a one of the many work camps. "Families are a disease of the past" and "attachment to the world is a crime", was the official position of the Khmer Rouge. Mei's voice forms the compelling centre of Madeleine Thien's extraordinary and deeply moving novel of loss and survival, of memory and identity, of past and present intermingling, and of the underlying deep-seated need to heal from the wounds inflicted on body and soul. But how?

Rarely have I read a novel that pulled me so quickly so deeply into the emotional life and traumas of the central characters and the external circumstances that led to these upheavals. Madeleine Thien takes us deep into the brutal and devastating realities of the Khmer Rouge Regime that lasted officially from 1975 to 1978, but whose violent actions were felt inside the country for a much longer time. It seem inconceivable to us today, what happened to the people of Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge Regime, that left between one and two million people dead and many others displaced without trace.
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Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading Dogs at the Perimeter on the shores of Lake Beira in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In the magical land of Ondaatje, the sultry air caresses my thoughts and body as I pen these short reflections on Thien’s powerful work of friendship, closing a circle of longing, suffering and uncertainty.

Madeleine Thien’s narrative is a spell-binding odyssey into a dark and painful past. Janie, now a medical researcher in Montreal with a caring husband and a loving son, must relive the tragedy of her childhood in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Her return to this world of horror and absurdity is triggered by the sudden disappearance of her friend and colleague, Hiroji Matsui. Hiroji is a brilliant doctor, whose brother, Junichiro, vanished in Cambodia thirty years earlier while working for the Red Cross. Janie’s bond to Hiroji quietly unfolds in the opening chapters. While he is not her lover, at least not in the traditional sense, she is drawn to him through their common loss of loved ones in a distant land, and he becomes her soul mate. His unexplained absence crushes her existence and distances her from her husband and child. Convinced that Hiroji has returned to Cambodia in a renewed attempt to find Junichiro, Janie embarks on a physical and metaphysical voyage to a land that she has long locked out of her thoughts.

On the cover of my edition of Madeleine Thien’s entrancing novel, fellow Canadian author, Johanna Skibsrud, has graced Thien with the recommendation “If you read one Canadian book this year, let it be this one.” A fair comment but erroneous in adding “Canadian,” for Thien’s work transcends geographic boundaries and national identity. Nor is it really a “book,” but rather a cloud of thoughts, an experience as heavy and penetrating as the languid air of Lake Beira.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved Thein's descriptive realism in this text. She tells the story of a war torn country through the eyes of a young girl trying to survive while the same girl, a woman now, is searching for a missing friend in Montreal. I couldn't put it down.
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Format: Paperback
Remarkable and gripping! This dazzling writer was new to me, but her evocative style is entirely impressive. Several customer reviews, specifically those of Roger Brunjate, Friederike Knabe and Sean Malcolm offer well-deserved praise.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received the book on time and in perfect condition (looks exactly like the picture shown). Also a great read.
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