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The Hundred-Year Flood by Matthew Salesses

The Hundred-Year Flood

by Matthew Salesses

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The “100 Year Flood” was my Kindle First selection for August, based on the generally positive reviews. It’s the story of an Asian American 20 something named Tee, who goes to Prague after the suicide of his uncle. The entire story is a reflective piece from Tee’s perspective. It starts out in the here and now, and then goes back to embellish the reasons as to why Tee is in the hospital.

I went back and forth on enjoying the author’s sometimes prosaic style; sometimes I liked it and sometimes I didn’t. Salesses is good at creating an insight into a place I have never read about before. Through Tee’s eyes, Prague is beautiful, sensual, and vibrant. It’s a place of self-discovery and sadness, of life and darkness, and Salesses captured all of the nuances and vibrancy very well. Some of the writing is fuzzy and disjointed, but that is because Tee is fuzzy and disjointed.

All in all, I was able to read through the book without any issues as it wasn’t a very dense or difficult read. It was always easy for me to stop reading because nothing was able to keep me going through the night with interest, but it wasn’t so boring that I stopped reading and couldn’t find the energy to pick it back up.

The crux of the problem was that I just did not care for or about any of the characters. Even Tee was just the median, serving as the narrator of the story and nothing more. The storyline was also relatively predictable. I was able to come up with a lot of conclusions about the plot without any real deductions necessary.

That being sad, the book was well-written and had its points of intrigue. Since it was definitely on the slimmer side, I wouldn’t be opposed to picking it back up again someday and re-reading it. ( )
  Lauraborealis | Dec 22, 2016 |
I had high hopes for this book because it was blurbed by Roxane Gay, and indeed, it's written beautifully. Salesses knows his way around a sentence. Unfortunately, this book is all MFA workshop and no substance. Salesses knows how to say things but has nothing to say, placing this book squarely in the category of entitled male MFA mostly-autobiographical literary fiction (see for instance Eric Fassnacht, the 2015 incarnation of 2016 Salesses). I'd read more from this author if he had something new to say. ( )
  sparemethecensor | May 3, 2016 |
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"In the shadow of a looming flood that comes every one hundred years, Tee tries to convince himself that living in a new place will mean a new identity and a chance to shed the parallels between him and his adopted father. This beautiful and dreamlike story follows Tee, a twenty-two-year-old Korean-American, as he escapes to Prague in the wake of his uncle's suicide and the aftermath of 9/11. His life intertwines with Pavel, a painter famous for revolution; Katka, his equally alluring wife; and Pavel's partner--a giant of a man with an American name. As the flood slowly makes its way into the old city, Tee contemplates his own place in life as both mixed and adopted and as an American in a strange land full of heroes, myths, and ghosts" --… (more)

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