MY RATING: ★★★★★ /5
Pulitzer winner, Viet Thanh Nguyen came back with yet another amazing novel, a short stories collection depicting the lives of the Vietnamese refugees.
For those of you who didn’t know already, I’m Vietnamese. Born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City #REPRESENT. Reading this collection has made me extremely nostalgic about my childhood roots but also extremely grateful for my parents, my family and all my Vietnamese people out there. This novel reminds us of our own traditions. Somewhere between our everyday lives in America and dealing with obstacles in life, there’s always our cultural root that remains and embodies us.
What I find astonishing is the ability of the author to not only talk about the Vietnamese roots, but the values he conveyed, and how they are without boundaries. I think any refugee from any country would relate to these stories for it deals with grief, loss, family internal conflict and fitting in in a new country; how to live the American Dream when you are a refugee.
The first story, The Blacked Eyed Women, introduced us to a ghost writer who sees her dead brother. I had a wistful affection for that specific story because the ghost tale he mentioned is a well known myth that my grandparents always told me about. Simply the feeling of it, under Viet Thanh’s pen, is enchanting. I was able to revive one of my childhood memories at the exact moment when my grandparents had told me that tale. That simple chapter, you may find it obvious or apparent, but I think it’s the manifest of his own struggle that stands out. It’s the dilemma between a writer, having the ability to deliver a message of so many witnesses versus the others, not so lucky, being a ghost writer who got the skills but not the name.
I think if I continue any longer, I’ll be able to analyze every short story from his novel LOL. But the important thing that I want you all to remember from this book is that Viet Thanh has masterfully illustrated the history of not only my parents and ancestors but also my generation without going into politics and wars. THIS RIGHT HERE, is a winner for me. His short stories consider the point of views of sons and daughters, that means it includes those who are in my generation and those not so very far from it. Because we were all daughters and sons in some point in our lives right?
Would you like to read it ? Did you read it ? How did you like it ? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section 🙂
I want to say a special thank you to the author himself, for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review 😀
P.S: If you are reading this, Mr Viet Thanh Nguyen, I’d love to meet you some time if you ever come to Montreal 😀
Here’s a recent interview of the author :