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Madeleine Thien Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Certainty (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dogs at the Perimeter (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Do Not Say We Have Nothing (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Picture Books

The Chinese Violin (With: Joe Chang) (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Simple Recipes: Stories (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Finding the Words(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Granta 141: Canada(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gifts of Reading(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Madeleine Thien is a renowned Canadian novelist and short story writer of the Chinese heritage. She is known for writing young adult, literary fiction, contemporary, coming of age, historical fiction, cultural, adult fiction, and women fiction stories. Thien’s work has been considered by Canadian Literature’s Oxford Handbook as reflecting Canadian literature’s trans-cultural nature and exploring expression, politics, and art inside China and Cambodia, along with other Asian communities. A critically acclaimed book penned by author Thien is known as Do Not Say We Have Nothing. It won the Governor General’s Award in 2016 in the category of English language fiction. The book also won other prestigious awards such as the Edward Stanford Award and Scotiabank Giller Prize. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016, the Rathbones Folio Prize in 2017, and the Baileys Women’s Fiction Prize in 2017.

Thien’s novels have been translated into over 25 languages and are sought after all over the world. She has achieved wide acclaim for her work and is considered a top-rated author of her generation. Author Thien was born on May 25, 1974, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her mother is of Hong Kong Chinese descent, while her father is Malaysian Chinese. Thien studied at the University of Simon Fraser and took classes in contemporary dance. She went on to obtain her Master’s degree from British Columbia University. Her subject was Fine Arts with a specialization in Creative Writing. Thien claims that there were several for her to switch over to creative writing from dance. The most important of them was her inner feeling of having inadequate dancing talent, despite being too passionate about it.

Thien’s work-life began with a few small jobs in the retail and clerical fields. She also worked in a restaurant for some time. Then, she moved on to work for Rice Paper Magazine on the post of editor. In 1999, she became a finalist in a contest organized by the Writer’s Trust of Canada for Emerging Writers. A couple of years later, the Workshop for Asian Canadian Writers gave her the Emerging Writers Award for her collection of short stories called Simple Recipes. A lot of the stories penned by the author in her career are based on the theme of time and its connection to human emotion and place. In 2016, Thien gave an interview to Granta in which she claimed to have been thinking about how the lives of women are portrayed in literature and said that she is planning to work on a novel based on sexuality and women with colored skin. Thien’s first book came out in 2001 under the title of Simple Recipes. This short fiction collection explores conflicts between intercultural and intergenerational relationships.

After that, she adapted the short movie, The Chinese Violin, into a book for younger readers. The debut full-length novel written by Thien is entitled ‘Certainty’. It came out in 2006 in Canada and a year later in England and the US. This book follows the journey of a documentary producer while she looks for the truth about the experience of her father living in Malaysia under the rule of Japanese authorities. It has been released worldwide and has been translated into as many as 16 languages. The other books of Thien’s career followed one after the other in the later years. Throughout her career, Thien has participated in various writers’ workshops and writing programs. She has worked with many international writers such as Billy Kahora, Khet Mar, Kei Miller, and Eduardo Halfon.

The extent of the success of Thien’s writing career can be understood from the list of awards she has won and been a finalist for. They include the City of Vancouver Book Award, Ethel Wilson Prize, VanCity Book Prize, Ovid Festival Prize, Kiriyama Prize, High MacLennan Prize, International Literature Award, etc. As of today, author Thien resides in Montreal, Canada. She has a partner named Rawi Hage, who is also a novelist by profession. They follow the common law and use the rights provided by this law to live together. Thien looks forward to writing a lot more novels in the coming years and achieve much more success. She hopes to receive the support of her fans for all her future works as well.

A popular book written by author Madeleine Thien is entitled ‘Certainty’. It was released by Little Brown & Company in 2007. This book tells a haunting tale about an incident in history through unforgettable love stories of two couples. Thien has mentioned the central characters in this novel in the roles of Gail Lim, Matthew Lim, Ani Lim, Clara, and several others. The setting takes place in Japanese-ruled Malaysia and Amsterdam. The book opens by showing that Gail Lim is a producer of documentaries for radio. Her father, Matthew Lim, has a mysterious Asian past and it haunts Gail very much whenever she thinks about it. When Gail was a child, Matthew resided in a village in Malaysia that was under the command of Japanese rulers.

Matthew along with his beloved partner Ani used to wander the jungle under war’s terrifying shadow. Both their families were shattered because of war and they were split before going on to reunite after several years. The profound connection between Ani and Matthew and the life-changing secrets shared by them form a shadow that Matthew and his wife Clara are still trying to understand. Gail undertakes a journey to unravel this mystery. This journey takes her to Amsterdam, where she finds more information about the mysterious woman that Ani was. However, as Gail tries to approach the truth, the story of Ani makes her come face to face with her own life’s untold mysteries. The story is poignant, vivid, and has powerful prose. It depicts a story that follows loss’ legacies, war’s dislocations, and love’s timeless redemption.

Another exciting book penned by Thien is known as ‘Dogs at the Perimeter. It was published by W.W. Norton Company in 2017 after its first release in 2011. This novel consists of the main characters as Janie and Hiroji Matsui. Thien has set the story in Cambodia and Montreal. Initially, it is depicted that Janie had experienced terrible violence in Cambodia when she was small. In the attack carried out by the Khmer Rouge, she had lost everything she held dear. Thirty years later, Janie is seen living in Montreal with the scars of the past still haunting her. She abandons her husband and their son and takes refuge in her friend’s home. The friend, a scientist by the name of Hiroji Matsui, also shares a similar past. Together, Hiroji and Janie find solace in each other’s pain and grief. Later, the disappearance of Hiroji opens old wounds, forcing Janie to struggle in search of her dear friend.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Madeleine Thien

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