“[Thanh] goes boldly where most would rather not tread. . . . With her first sentences, Yasuko Thanh displays creative courage. . . . Thanh has a descriptive flair that often vaults beyond the visual. Her Mexican and tropical settings, especially, engage the full range of the senses. You feel the slick of sweat and smell the masala of hot rain and sweetness and rot. . . . Exquisite.”

Globe and Mail


“Enchanting. . . . Across all the stories of her debut, Thanh exhibits a fascination for often rootless or displaced characters – as well as smart women who are fools for love – whose hungering for transformative experience and surrender to wanderlust rarely produce the expected results. . . . A prize-winner well before the publication of her first book, Yasuko Thanh impresses above all with the thematic complexity of her approach. Coupling a globetrotter’s perspective and historical curiosity to that, her stories conjure vignettes of troubling existence, where change is possible but outcomes deviate far from plans.”

National Post 


“Carefully observed . . . [“Floating Like the Dead”] is a poignant, deeply poetic examination of society’s castoffs. Sidestepping melodrama and sentimentality, Thanh offers a fascinating splinter-view of humanity. Her tale is heartbreaking. . . . These stories, written over a decade, are beautifully composed. Thanh writes with economy and nuance, but at the same time, her subject matter is bold. . . . Thanh displays the bighearted ability to make us empathize with the disenfranchised.”

Victoria Times Colonist


"Thanh often focuses her skills on those near society’s edges: the condemned, the fugitive, the lonely, grappling with dislocated identities. . . . [Her stories] glide across the decades, dropping us into small worlds alive with detail, in places as far afield as Mexico and Vietnam. In their variety, they show how many paths lie open to Thanh’s emerging talent.”

Georgia Straight


“Whether she’s writing about the Saigon or the Deep South, Victoria’s Yasuko Thanh knows how to lure a reader. In Floating Like the Dead, the author baits each page with a lush cast of characters. From a Texan teen who chooses to elope with her criminal boyfriend (in Lula May’s Love Stories) to a love-burned wife realizing her worth (in The Peach Trees of Nhat Than), Thanh’s heroes make her literary debut a memorable one.”

Fashion Magazine


 “A fabulous collection of short stories. . . . Yasuko Thanh has this wonderful way of finding exactly the right details to relate in the story to illuminate every one of [her] characters. She then transcends whatever those specifics are to reflect on some greater aspect of the human condition. . . . It doesn’t seem to matter where she goes, Thanh manages to get these essential details right and that allows the reader to be transported. . . . [Thanh has an] extraordinary talent for observation. . . . She is a very talented writer. . . . She may be the one responsible for converting me to being a lover of short fiction. . . . Each one of these [stories is] a deeply satisfying read. . . . There’s an expression that applies exactly here: ‘Enough is as good as a feast.’And Floating Like the Dead is a fictional feast. . . .I loved it.”

All Points West (CBC Radio)


“The first thing you noticed about Floating Like the Dead is the writer’s skill at evoking a sense of place. With a few carefully selected details, she drops the reader into a sterile prison cell, then searing southern Texas, then the watery Pacific Northwest. At her best, as in the Journey Prize–winning title story, Thanh sketches her characters with the same effectiveness, quickly bringing them into focus.”



“Strangely moving, distinctly compelling. . . . Thanh’s writing is exploratory, capricious and memorable.”

January Magazine


“Brutal in its honesty as it is tender in its sentimentality, Floating Like the Dead peers into moments of life that we might otherwise have overlooked. Thanh tells the small but gripping tales that most would not care to tell. Her characters range from a man dying of AIDS cared for by his devoted partner in “His Lover's Ghost”; Chinese lepers exiled on a BC island and forgotten by the world in the title story; smalltime drug dealers in Latin America in “Hunting in Spanish” and “Hustler”; and battered and neglected women in broken relationships (a common motif in her collection). Lending each of these characters the benefit of her attention and arresting prose, she makes each character all the more remarkable. What is perhaps most impressive is the sheer territory Thanh covers in just nine stories. We travel across six countries and through as many time periods in the slim volume. Equally impressive is the range of narrative styles and voices Thanh is able to inhabit. . . . While the range of topics and styles should be eclectic in a short story collection, Thanh’s common themes and threads of experience do tie the stories together nicely. Memory is an important player in these stories as Thanh thoughtfully exposes the way we feed on memories to keep us going, especially in the face of a troubling present or a bleak future. The stories in Floating Like the Dead leave the reader with more questions than answers about these strange yet familiar characters, but that is part of their appeal. It only takes a moment for Thanh’s stories to drawn you in, but you will be contemplating them for a long time to come.”

Schema Magazine


“[The best stories in the collection] provide glowing evidence of a writer with compelling artistry and technique to burn. . . .”

Winnipeg Free Press


“Thanh’s lived all over the world and the stories in Floating Like the Dead also explore different territories, both geographically and emotionally and historically. The title and Journey Prize–winning story centres on Chinese lepers sent to live on an island in isolation off the coast of British Columbia, a story based on historical events. Thanh’s writing is vivid and rich in detail as she traverses the lives and landscapes of her life-weary characters.”

Canada Arts Connect Magazine




yasuko thanh