‘Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice’ by Nam Le

I normally disdain stories about writers and writing, but this one is an exception. Well, is it a story, or is it non-fiction? The question becomes irrelevant – or, more accurately: it’s super-relevant, but inconsequential. The writing is beautiful: suffused with the weariness of the recently-young, by which I mean, a person who’s spent the first third of their life striving hard and harder, trying to beat life into simplicity, and who’s just realising that, actually, striving isn’t going to work. And it’s a father-son narrative, and an immigrant story that pushes against that label. Soft, sad and masterful.

First published in All-Story, Summer 2006, and available to read online here. Collected in The Boat, Canongate, 2008