"A really once-in-a-lifetime book ... It has great, great range, it has delving sympathies and intelligence, and then there are also these wonderful sentences, enviable sentences."
"Nam Le is extraordinary, a writer who must — who will — be heard. The Boat will be read for as long as people read books. Its vision and its power are timeless."
"There's enough information in these few pages to predict a laurel-laden future for Nam Le."
"The Boat is tremendous, challenging and ambitious, worthy of the same shelf that holds Dubliners and The Things They Carried — like those works, it asks to be read as a whole and taken seriously as a book. In it, storms gather but no one seems able to respond; violence leads to confusion instead of clarity; love provokes rather than answers old questions. The book journeys across time and space, history and continents, finding a nightmare of isolation, fear, upheaval and violence. Nam Le looks into our present, and we seem to hear a prophetic voice coming to us from the future, but really this book nails our collective now, our kairos, with an urgency and relevance that feel visionary."
"A fearless new Australian voice that accepts no geographical limits: these are stories of leaping power and the most breathtaking grace and intimacy."
"In the first story of this fine collection, Nam Le has already demonstrated the kind of courage and directness it takes most writers years to achieve. By the last, he’s proven he can take you on a journey to almost anywhere — the slums of Colombia, the South Asian seas, the exurbs of Australia, or the art world of New York — all in vivid and at times harrowing detail. The Boat is an impressive feat, and the debut of a very talented writer."
"Wonderful stories that snarl and pant across our crazed world ... An extraordinary performance. Nam Le is a heartbreaker, not easily forgotten."
"A breathtakingly assured collection of stories — powerful, moving, unsparingly honest — exhibiting a narrative confidence and range that is as remarkable as it is mature. A tremendous debut."
John Burnham Schwartz
"From the very first page of The Boat, Nam Le’s extraordinary talent, range of vision, and moral courage make the reader sit up and take notice. By the last page, one feels a kind of fervent gratitude — rare enough these days — for having been introduced to a young writer whose mark on the literary world, so freshly made, will only grow deeper in the years to come."
"It is obvious as one starts these stories that they explore a vast geographical landscape, but what becomes clear as one moves forward is that they plumb a similarly vast emotional and intellectual one, and they do so with poignancy and wit. A brilliant heart has conceived and written these gripping narratives."
"Nam Le writes with a rare blend of courage and beauty. His prose has a stunning clarity that works perfectly with the constant flow of narrative surprises. Book your passage on The Boat. You will not forget the people you meet on the voyage."
"In these seven fierce, alluring stories, Nam Le demonstrates, to an extraordinary degree, John Donne's claim that no man is an island. I was impressed and deeply moved by the many worlds to which this brilliant young writer transported me. A terrific book."