Summary: From the critically acclaimed author of Beneath a Marble Sky and Beside a Burning Sea—the new novel from “a master storyteller,”* set in contemporary Asia.
From John Shors comes an unforgettable story of redemption set in modern-day Vietnam.
Dragon House tells the tale of Iris and Noah—two Americans who, as a way of healing their own painful pasts, open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. In the slums of a city that has known little but war for generations, Iris and Noah befriend children who dream of nothing more than of going to school, having a home, and being loved. Learning from the poorest of the poor, the most silent of the unheard, Iris and Noah find themselves reborn. Resounding with powerful themes of suffering, sacrifice, friendship, and love, Dragon House brings together East and West, war and peace, and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.
-- New American Library
I've been on a kick lately reading a whole bunch of Christmas stories. I needed a little change of pace, so I decided to pick up DRAGON HOUSE by John Shors. I thought a story about two Americans who were opening a center to help Vietnamese street children sounded so interesting. Little did I know that this novel would have a similar effect on me as all of the holiday stories. DRAGON HOUSE deeply touched my heart and in so many ways made me realize how much I have to be grateful for.
This book definitely held my attention. I was quickly caught up in both Iris' and Noah's stories, and I thought both characters were extremely interesting. I like that Mr. Shors took the effort to fully develop their characters, and I found myself liking both of them very much. Of course once I was invested in their stories, I desperately hoped for that they would find some success -- for Iris, a completed and working center; and for Noah, just some peace of mind and freedom from pain. In addition to these characters, my heart just went out to all of the poor, homeless Vietnamese people especially the children. I found it so difficult to read some of the pages because I was deeply affected by the living conditions; and yet, I couldn't seem to put the book down. I had to find out what happened to all of the characters.
I am always interested in learning about other cultures, and I seem to be especially interested in Asia. I think Mr. Shors did a wonderful job of bringing modern day Vietnam to life for me. I could definitely picture both the beauty of the country as well as the filth of the streets. In fact, I could almost sense the crowds and smell of the city with his vivid descriptions.
Furthermore, I was very impressed with Mr. Shors' ability to tell a story. I enjoyed his writing style and I was captivated with the story and the characters from the very first pages. I could definitely tell that he understood his subject matter and feels very passionately about it. I can't wait to read his other novels BENEATH A MARBLE SKY and BESIDE A BURNING SEA. Even more impressive than his writing is Mr. Shors' dedication to helping children who are less fortunate. He donates some of the funds he receives from sales of DRAGON HOUSE to the Blue Dragon's Children Foundation -- you can read more about his involvement here.
I highly recommend reading DRAGON HOUSE. Not only was it a very interesting story with well developed characters, but it also really make me think. This book touched upon so many thought- provoking subjects like war, victims, love, healing, faith, renewal, and charity. DRAGON HOUSE would make a fantastic book club pick. I think any group would have a wonderful time dissecting each of the characters and how much they evolved throughout the course of the story.
DRAGON HOUSE really is a story that everyone should read because not only did it give me insight into the street children of Vietnam, but it also made me appreciate how fortunate I am and how very much I take for granted. After I finished DRAGON HOUSE, I felt the need to do something to help children who live in these conditions. I think the book speaks for itself when it evokes those kinds of feelings in a reader.
There is a fantastic website devoted to DRAGON HOUSE. In addition, you can check out this video of Mr. Shors explaining a little bit about DRAGON HOUSE as well as reading an excerpt:
Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book.
Make sure you come back tomorrow because Mr. Shors will be stopping by with a guest post and a giveaway opportunity for DRAGON HOUSE.