4.4
The Refugees

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

New York Times review:

“This superb collection of stories concerns men and women displaced from wartime Saigon and (mostly) settled in California.”

Featured in New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2017.

NPR review:

“With his gorgeous prose, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizers continues his tradition of illuminating Vietnamese-Americans in all their humanity.”

Featured in NPR’s Book Concierge Great Reads of 2017.

 

Aggregated customer review rating:

4.4 out of 5.0

Ranked 103rd in Books

Ranked 28th in Fiction

$ 10

The Refugees is a touching collection of stories by Viet Thanh Nguyen, writer of the much acclaimed novel of 2015, The Sympathizer. The author not only won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She was also awarded the Center for Fiction Debut Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the ALA Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the California Book Award for First Fiction.

With such high praise for her first novel, there was much anticipation for her next fiction book and she did not disappoint with The Refugees, a collection of narratively beautiful stories written over a period of twenty years. These stories are an exploration of the questions that arise about immigration, identity, love and family.

The collection of stories gives a voice to migrants’ struggles of adaptation to a new homeland while dealing with the heartache of living behind their country of birth.

The author shows a sharp observation of the aspiration for leaving one’s country for another and the relationships that are developed and are abandoned for the sake of a better future. She also highlights the hopes and desires of self-fulfillment that drives such a migration.

Storylines contained within the pages of The Refugees include a young Vietnamese refugee’s struggles at adapting to a severe culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, a woman’s whose husband starts to confuse her for a former lover as he suffers dementia and a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City with an older half-sister who comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will.

The stories are complex and character driven. An absolute must read!

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