Written in the style of literary realism, Nam Le's collection of stories entitled The Boat inserts new questions into the genre and challenges conventional assumptions about what to consider ethnic literature. The collection spans six decades (from 1945 to the early twenty-first century) and seven different regions of the world. With each shift in landscape, Le inhabits his narrators' inner worlds through poetic yet precise language. Opening with a story whose narrator exhibits parallels to the author's biography, Le deliberately places questions of authorship and authenticity at the crux of his characters' dilemmas. The collection addresses themes of family, sacrifice, mobility, war and trauma, and the search for meaning.