Vivian Pham is a debut novelist and her pathway to publication is quite extraordinary. Vivian is at uni now but the writing of the Coconut Children began when she was a high school student. Her first draft developed out of a novella she wrote as part of a program at The Story Factory. Now only a few
Publish Date: Jul 19, 2020
There are currently no snippets from Vivian Pham's The Coconut Children.
Snippets are an easy way to highlight your favorite soundbite from any piece of
audio and share with friends, or make a trailer for 2ser Book Club
Vivian Pham is a debut novelist and her pathway to publication is quite extraordinary. Vivian is at uni now but the writing of the Coconut Children began when she was a high school student. Her first draft developed out of a novella she wrote as part of a program at The Story Factory. Now only a few years later these beginnings have seen The Coconut Children published and drawing international praise.The Coconut Children takes us to Cabramatta in the late nineties. Vince has just returned to the streets of his youth. He’s not yet old, but has become legendary after a two year stint in juvenile detention.Vince’s mates immediately enfold him in their protective care and they take to running rampant through the suburb and making up for lost time. School is still on the cards, if for nothing more than a stage to cause havoc.As the suburb and the schools struggle to contain Vince’s vitality, Sonny can only watch on from afar.Sonny and Vince were childhood friends. But now Sonny is grappling with her own growing maturity and cannot fathom that the almost mythological figure of Vince might even notice her as she watches from the window next door…In Sonny and Vince, Vivian has crafted two polarised images of young first generation Vietnamese children, struggling to understand themselves and their identity against that of their parents who sacrificed so much to begin life again in Australia. The novel’s title comes from a story Sonny’s father relates about how coconuts overhang bodies of water so that when they drop they will be carried to new climes to begin life anew. It’s a bittersweet story that feels as much self fulfilling wish as truth.I’m not going to have time to describe everything that enthralled me in the Coconut Children. I do want to draw attention to Vivian’s incredible evocations of masculinity and the ways she explores what it means to be a man.Vince is not simply a thug or a criminal but he has been boxed into this role. Coming from a violent family situation he has little else to turn to when he finds that he is now viewed as a man.Somehow though Vivian opens up a range of subtle and varied male relationships and relationships between men and women, that show the many ways of being available to Vince. The most powerful of these is between Vince and Sonny and well… well it’s not my job to give the whole story away now is it?That is the Coconut Children and it is an incredible debut from Vivian Pham that I can thoroughly recommend for everyone's quarantine reading list.