Anguli Ma: a gothic tale by Chi Vu

Anguli Ma: a gothic taleA review by Nalini Haynes

Set in 1980s Melbourne, Anguli Ma: a gothic tale focuses on the lives of Vietnamese boat people, at least some of whom fled the fall of Saigon in 1975. This gothic tale enmeshes two stories: the dislocation – the dismemberment – suffered by those forced to flee their homeland and a vivid horror story.

Angulimala is a Bhuddist folkloric tale used to enlighten the reader (pardon the pun).

Chi Vu uses rich descriptions of food and people alongside limited yet effective metaphors to illustrate internal worlds and foreshadow the climax.

At 128 pages, Anguli Ma is a short horror story delving into the macabre. Neither supernatural nor excessively bloody, this tale has the potential to shock while illuminating the very real ramifications of disclocation suffered by refugees fleeing devastation.

I feel that to divulge more would spoil the story.

Although Anguli Ma is a horror story and Zana Fraillon’s books are more gentle, written for a YA audience and older readers, I think if you like Anguli Ma for its representation of people of colour you should read Bone Sparrow and The Ones That Disappeared.

**Updated due to editing problems, hence I’ve added Fraillon’s books that were written later.

Rating: 4 and a half stars.
Publisher: Giromondo Publishing.
Print ISBN : 978-1-920882-87-7.
Epdf ISBN : 978-1-922146-74-8.
Epub ISBN : 978-1-922146-73-1.
Format: paperback, pp128.