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Short Girls by
Publication Date: 2009-07-23
A mesmerizing novel about estranged sisters and the cultural and family history that binds them Van and Linny Luong are as baffling to each other as their parents' Vietnamese legacy is to them both. Van, the quintessential overachiever, has applied the same studied diligence to her law career and marriage-a beau id al that vaporized when Mr. Right walked out. Linny-pretty, fashionable, untethered-is grasping for purpose when her affair with a married man takes a humiliating turn. Each is the last person her sister would call, but when Mr. Luong summons them home for his American citizenship party, Van and Linny find themselves communing about their past-their late mother, their father's obsession with his Luong Arm invention, even the irony of their romantic straits. As these unlikely confidantes chart the uncertainty that defines them, they forge a tentative new relationship and the wherewithal to overcome disappointment. Hailed by the Chicago Tribuneas "a writer to watch, a tremendous talent," Nguyen recasts her gifts marvelously in this first novel, infusing it with humor, compassion, and insight into siblings, aging parents, and the desires and ambitions that drive us.
The Reeducation of Cherry Truong by
Publication Date: 2012-03-13
Cherry Truong’s parents have exiled her wayward older brother from their Southern California home, sending him to Vietnam to live with distant relatives. Determined to bring him back, twenty-one-year-old Cherry travels to their homeland and finds herself on a journey to uncover her family’s decades-old secrets—hidden loves, desperate choices, and lives ripped apart by the march of war and currents of history. The Reeducation of Cherry Truong tells the story of two fierce and unforgettable families, the Truongs and the Vos: their harrowing escape from Vietnam after the war, the betrayal that divided them, and the stubborn memories that continue to bind them years later, even as they come to terms with their hidden sacrifices and bitter mistakes. Kim-Ly, Cherry’s grandmother, once wealthy and powerful in Vietnam, now struggles to survive in Little Saigon, California without English or a driver’s license. Cherry’s other grandmother Hoa, whose domineering husband has developed dementia, discovers a cache of letters from a woman she thought had been left behind. As Cherry pieces their stories together, she uncovers the burden of her family’s love and the consequences of their choices. Set in Vietnam, France, and the United States, Aimee Phan’s sweeping debut novel reveals a family still yearning for reconciliation, redemption, and a place to call home.
Pioneer Girl by
Publication Date: 2014-02-06
From an award-winning author, a novel about a Vietnamese American family’s ties to The Little House on the Prairie Jobless with a PhD, Lee Lien returns home to her Chicago suburb from grad school, only to find herself contending with issues she’s evaded since college. But when her brother disappears, he leaves behind an object from their mother’s Vietnam past that stirs up a forgotten childhood dream: a gold-leaf brooch, abandoned by an American reporter in Saigon back in 1965, that might be an heirloom belonging to Laura Ingalls Wilder. As Lee explores the tenuous facts of this connection, she unearths more than expected#151;a trail of clues and enticements that lead her from the dusty stacks of library archives to hilarious prairie life reenactments and ultimately to San Francisco, where her findings will transform strangers’ lives as well as her own. A dazzling literary mystery about the true origins of a time-tested classic, Pioneer Girl is also the deeply moving tale of a second-generation Vietnamese daughter, the parents she struggles to honor, the missing brother she is expected to bring home even as her discoveries yield dramatic insights that will free her to live her own life to its full potential.
In the Country by
Publication Date: 2015-06-16
A powerful, globe-trotting debut short-story collection from an exciting new writer--vivid, character-driven stories about Filipinos from every walk of life. Mia Alvar's stunning debut gives us a vivid, insightful picture of the Filipino diaspora: exiles and emigrants and wanderers uprooting their families to begin new lives in the Middle East and America--and, sometimes, turning back. One man smuggles drugs from his pharmacy in New York to Manila for his ailing father, only to discover an alarming truth about his mother. A woman living in Bahrain faces a challenge that compels her to question her marriage. A college student in Manila struggling to write fiction knows that her brother, who has gone abroad to make money, is the one living a life that stories are made of. The novella-length title story follows the unexpected fates of a journalist and a nurse during the 1970s labor strikes in Manila. Exploring the universal experience of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined, In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home.
The Committed by
Publication Date: 2021-03-02
The long-awaited new novel from one of America's most highly regarded contemporary writers, The Committed follows the unnamed Sympathizer as he arrives in Paris in the early 1980s with his blood brother Bon. The pair try to overcome their pasts and ensure their futures by engaging in capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing. Traumatized by his reeducation at the hands of his former best friend, Man, and struggling to assimilate into French culture, the Sympathizer finds Paris both seductive and disturbing. As he falls in with a group of left-wing intellectuals whom he meets at dinner parties given by his French Vietnamese "aunt," he finds stimulation for his mind but also customers for his narcotic merchandise. But the new life he is making has perils he has not foreseen, whether the self-torture of addiction, the authoritarianism of a state locked in a colonial mindset, or the seeming paradox of how to reunite his two closest friends whose worldviews put them in absolute opposition. The Sympathizer will need all his wits, resourcefulness, and moral flexibility if he is to prevail.
Things We Lost to the Water by
Publication Date: 2021-05-04
A stunning debut novel about an immigrant Vietnamese family who settles in New Orleans and struggles to remain connected to one another as their lives are inextricably reshaped. When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle in to life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father. But with time, Huong realizes she will never see her husband again. While she attempts to come to terms with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memories and imaginations. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong gets involved with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity--as individuals and as a family--threatens to tear them apart, until disaster strikes the city they now call home and they are suddenly forced to find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them.
Edge Case by
Publication Date: 2021-08-10
When her husband suddenly disappears, a young woman must uncover where he went--and who she might be without him--in this striking debut of immigration, identity, and marriage. After another taxing day as the sole female employee at her New York City tech startup, Edwina comes home to find that her husband, Marlin, has packed up a suitcase and left. The only question now is why. Did he give up on their increasingly hopeless quest to secure their green cards and decide to return to Malaysia? Was it the death of his father that sent him into a tailspin? Or has his strange, sudden change in personality finally made Marlin and Edwina strangers to each other? As Edwina searches the city for traces of her husband, she simultaneously sifts through memories of their relationship, hoping to discover the moment when something went wrong. All the while, a coworker is making increasingly uncomfortable advances toward her. And she can't hide the truth about Marlin's disappearance from her overbearing, eccentric mother for much longer. Soon Edwina will have to decide how much she is willing to sacrifice in order to stay in her marriage and in America.
The Book of Salt by
Publication Date: 2003-04-07
In Paris, in 1934, Bính has accompanied his employers, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, to the train station for their departure to America. His own destination is unclear: will he go with "the Steins," stay in France, or return to his native Vietnam? Bính has fled his homeland in disgrace, leaving behind his malevolent charlatan of a father and his self-sacrificing mother. For five years, he has been the live-in cook at the famous apartment at 27 rue de Fleurus. Before Bính's decision is revealed, his mesmerizing narrative catapults us back to his youth in French-colonized Vietnam, his years as a galley hand at sea, and his days turning out fragrant repasts for the doyennes of the Lost Generation. Bính knows far more than the contents of the Steins' pantry: he knows their routines and intimacies, their manipulations and follies. With wry insight, he views Stein and Toklas ensconced in blissful domesticity. But is Bính's account reliable? A lost soul, he is a late-night habitué of the Paris demimonde, an exile and an alien, a man of musings and memories, and, possibly, lies. Love is the prize that has eluded him, from his family to the men he has sought out in his far-flung journeys, often at his peril. Intricate, compelling, and witty, the novel weaves in historical characters, from Stein and Toklas to Paul Robeson and Ho Chi Minh, with remarkable originality.
The Sympathizer by
Publication Date: 2015-04-07
A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel,The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong.The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story,The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.
The Refugees by
Publication Date: 2017-02-07
The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters,The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.
Dogs at the Perimeter by
Publication Date: 2017-10-03
Set in Cambodia during the regime of the-Khmer Rouge and in present day Montreal, Dogs at the Perimeter tells the story of Janie, who as a child experiences the terrible violence carried out by the Khmer Rouge and loses everything she holds dear. Three decades later, Janie has relocated to Montreal, although the scars of her past remain visible. After abandoning her husband and son and taking refuge in the home of her friend, the scientist Hiroji Matsui, Janie and Hiroji find solace in their shared grief and pain--until Hiroji's disappearance opens old wounds and Janie finds that she must struggle to find grace in a world overshadowed by the sorrows of her past.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by
Publication Date: 2021-06-01
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society--she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She's also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
Publication Date: 2015-08-03
Robert, an Oakland cop, still can't let go of Suzy, the enigmatic Vietnamese wife who left him two years ago. Now she's disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who's blackmailing Robert into finding her for him. As he pursues her through the sleek and seamy gambling dens of Las Vegas, shadowed by Sonny's sadistic son, "Junior," and assisted by unexpected and reluctant allies, Robert learns more about his ex-wife than he ever did during their marriage. He finds himself chasing the ghosts of her past, one that reaches back to a refugee camp in Malaysia after the fall of Saigon, as his investigation soon uncovers the existence of an elusive packet of her secret letters to someone she left behind long ago. Although Robert starts illuminating the dark corners of Suzy's life, the legacy of her sins threatens to immolate them all.Vu Tran has written a thrilling and cinematic work of sophisticated suspense and haunting lyricism, set in motion by characters who can neither trust each other nor trust themselves. This remarkable debut is a noir page-turner resonant with the lasting reverberations of lives lost and lives remade a generation ago.
The Bride Test by
Publication Date: 2019-05-07
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well he can't feel big emotions like love. He thinks he's defective. His mum knows that his autism means he just processes emotions differently, and goes to Vietnam to find him a wife. As a mixed race girl living in Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place, so when the chance to travel to America to find a husband arises she jumps on it. And though she finds herself falling for the man, he says he can never return her affections. With Esme's time in the US running out, Khai is forced to learn he's been wrong and that there's more than one way to love.