. . . “The Refugees” by Viet Thanh Nguyen Grove Press, 209 pp., $25. . . Nguyen’s prose is consistently eloquent and thoughtful.” —8Asians.com, “Each searing tale in Nguyen’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-winning The Sympathizer is a pressure cooker of unease, simmering with unresolved issues of memory and identity for the Vietnamese whose lives were disrupted by the ‘American War.’ . Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction but also the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. The Refugees is simply a beautiful collection of captivating stories. The writing, as I am told has been said, is as good as The Sympathizer, but a comparison is really not necessary. Nguyen has a remarkable eye for detail that allows him to cast every image with real emotional force . [Nguyen’s] stories, excellent from start to finish, transcend ethnic boundaries to speak to human universals.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review), “Nguyen’s penetrating gaze will mesmerize readers and open windows to the particular nuances of a population struggling to find its identity . Nguyen conveys the trauma and lingering melancholy of displacement in a way that feels deeply honest yet still wonderfully imaginative . . With The Refugees we are beginning to get a sense of the immensity of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s ability as a writer and thinker.” —Paul Yamazaki, City Lights, San Francisco, “Viet Thanh Nguyen really has pulled off a literary hat trick, in quick succession at that—brilliant novel (The Sympathizer), brilliant non-fiction study (Nothing Ever Dies)—and now, with The Refugees, a superb, brilliant book of stories. . . The true power of this collection lies in the way Nguyen subverts stereo—typical notions of the refugee experience, both sharpening and stretching our appreciation of its vast, universal dimensions in stories that range across generations, gender and time . . . . It's an urgent, wonderful collection that proves that fiction can be more than mere storytelling — it can bear witness to the lives of people who we can't afford to forget. . The book begins with the haunting "Black-Eyed Women," about a ghostwriter who lives with her mother; both were refugees from Vietnam. Finalist for the California Book Awards (Fiction) With the same incisiveness as in The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to the hopes and expectations of people making life-changing decisions to leave one country for another, and the rifts in identity, loyalties, romantic … Grove Press Nguyen's debut novel, The Sympathizer, and short story collection, The Refugees. . . is a superbly orchestrated piece of writing, with many movements and depths, moving across generations . With anger but not despair, with reconciliation but not unrealistic hope, and with genuine humour that is not used to diminish anyone, Nguyen has breathed life into many unforgettable characters, and given us a timely book focusing, in the words of Willa Cather, on ‘the slow working out of fate in people of allied sentiment and allied blood.’” —Yiyun Li, Guardian, “Delicately captures the traumas and triumphs of the migrant experience . Nguyen is not here to sympathize . . . The Refugees is a book that needs to be read: it is astonishingly good.” —Donal O’Donoghue, RT Guide (Ireland), “A timely look at lives of outsiders in America . Your purchase helps support NPR programming. And he feels ill at ease on Vietnamese soil, finding it hard to forget his actions during the war: "The tonnage fell far behind his B-52 after its release, and so he had never seen his own payload explode or even drop, although he watched other planes of his squadron scattering their black seed into the wind, leaving him to imagine what he would later see on film, the bombs exploding, footfalls of an invisible giant stomping the earth." Again, he focuses on Vietnamese immigrants who go to the States after the fall of Saigon. . . The stories in The Refugees [are] haunting and heart-wrenching, but also wry and unapologetic in their humanity . Nguyen, Viet Thanh. . Nguyen’s message, instead, is that they are people, like all of us, with complicated lives and histories.” —Trine Tsouderos, Chicago Tribune, “[A] quietly profound peek into the lives of Vietnam’s deracinated and dispossessed . He's taken in by a gay couple, immigrants themselves, one from England and one from Hong Kong. . She had passed away that morning, in her own bed. but to challenge the experience of white America as the invisible norm.” —Publishers Weekly (starred, boxed review), “A collection of fluidly modulated yet bracing stories about Vietnamese refugees in the U.S., powerful tales of rupture and loss that detonate successive shock waves . . An essential read for anyone seeking to understand the immigrant experience . These eight works celebrate the art of telling stories as an act of resilience and survival . . Club, “[A] sophisticated collection . And Viet Thanh Nguyen drives that point home brilliantly.” —Mekong Review, “Hits like a punch in the gut . . And because of his wonderful writing, it's impossible not to do so. A collection of exceptional stories that ring with topicality and truth . The father has never been to Vietnam, apart from flying it as an American pilot in the war. In Liem’s case, it is also apparent that escaping Vietnam was a difficult choice in and of itself, because it meant having to leave his family, as well as the only life he had ever known. Absorb[s] both the nostalgia and bitterness that have characterized so many refugees in the decades since 1975, when South Vietnam fell to the communist North and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese began streaming out of their homeland.” —Rayyan Al-Shawaf, San Francisco Chronicle, “The Refugees is both timely, given the current debate about refugees in America, and timeless in its exploration of universal human struggles. Nominated for the Bookish Awards (Best Short Story Collection) In his first short story collection, writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for his novel The Sympathizer, takes a look at how it feels and what it means to be a refugee. "He tried to forget what he'd discovered, how little other lives mattered to him when his own was at stake.". ‘stories are just things we fabricate, nothing more,’ one character declares. They are complicatedly human and deserving our care and empathy . . Even as he makes a new life for himself in California, he finds himself beset by memories of his narrow escape from Vietnam. He lives in Los Angeles. . . They take a segment of the American population not always on the social radar and bring it into sharp relief.” —Quang Tran, America Magazine, “In the US, two kinds of stories typically exist about Vietnam and its people: jungles and napalm, or protest and politics. When I turned around again to see her, she was gone. . . . . . . Many of these short stories are bona fide perfect . . Ghosts, writing, dominant mothers, the primacy of sons . . . The Refugees.First edition. In The Refugees, Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. . The opening story, ‘Black-Eyed Women’ . . . What's clear is … . . These stories are unified by their gentle poignancy and their investigations into shifting identity . Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction but also the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Chicago Style Citation. ', and 'I could live without television, but not without books.' . . It was her ghost. . Nguyen’s writing is lyrical and searingly evocative . . . But Nguyen never asks the reader to pity them; he wants us only to see them as human beings. . He is the Aerol Arnold Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations. . is an expert on the implications of displacement . Eye-opening . Being surrounded by fellow refugees gave Nguyen a sense of his Vietnamese heritage and greatly impacted his writing, especially The Sympathizer. . Nguyen's next fiction book, The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. . [An] extraordinary collection . . She asks, “Was it ironic, then, that I made a living from being a ghost writer?” What elements of her personal story make her career . . . Nguyen’s narrative style—restrained, spare, avoiding metaphor or the syntactical virtuosity on display in every paragraph of The Sympathizer—is well suited for portraying tentative states . In The Refugees, such figures aren’t, contra Trump, an undifferentiated, threatening mass. . . . But there are others of different nationalities, alienated not from a nation but from love or home, and displaced in subtler ways . The Refugees—story as ’tude. Unlock with LitCharts A+ A must-read.” —Rasha Madkour, Associated Press, “[A] timely story collection . . But then she herself gets a visit from her brother's ghost, and realizes her lifelong struggle to forget him has always been doomed to fail. It's hard not to feel for Nguyen's characters, many of whom have been dealt an unfathomably bad hand. . . I was bringing dinner to the table when I saw Aunt Six sitting there in her nightgown. . The Refugees comes at a time when Americans are being forced to reckon with what our country is becoming, what values we truly hold dear. . Sept. 2, 2016 ... No. Longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize . . . This work should be on everyone’s shelves for itself.” —Steve Bercu, BookPeople, “Viet’s writing in The Sympathizer reminded me of Ravel’s Bolero . . . . For his next project, acclaimed author Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer) has taken on the role of editor. The only kind I enjoyed concerned my father when he was a man I did not know, young and happy. . . Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015. Throughout, Nguyen demonstrates the richness of the refugee experience, while also foregrounding the very real trauma that lies at its core.” —Doree Shafrir, BuzzFeed, “The perfect book to read at this historical moment in America . [Nguyen’s] new short story collection demonstrates the richness of the refugee experience—and highlights its singular traumas . . For those reading The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen, here are discussion questions for each story in the book as well as conversations recorded by D.C. residents who read the story: “Black-eyed Women” The narrator of the story is a ghostwriter. Powerful . Nguyen, V. T. (2017). Aunt Six died of a heart attack at seventy-six, she told me once, twice, or perhaps three times, repetition being her habit. . . . A New York Times Notable Book of the Year 2017 It's an urgent, wonderful collection that proves that fiction can be more than mere storytelling — it can bear witness to the lives of people who we can't afford to forget. His message is not Pollyannaish or demonizing . . Nguyen does not comment much at this moment about the undocumented workers at Arellano and Sons, but one can draw a connection between the immigrants and the refugees of this story. . 482 quotes from Viet Thanh Nguyen: 'Nothing is ever so expensive as what is offered for free. After the fall of Saigon, in 1975, his family fled to the United States. . "As they haunt our country, so do we haunt theirs. How? Remembrance is a common theme in Nguyen's stories, particularly the kind of unwelcome memories that haunt the pasts of those who have endured trauma. An Independent Literary Publisher Since 1917. A lovely nuanced theory of visitation.” —Lucy Kogler, Talking Leaves Books, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Honor Award . Nguyen writes . . 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. And it whets your appetite for his next novel.” —Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, “A terrific new book of short stories . She stood up, kissed me, and turned me towards the kitchen. This is beautiful, telling work—once again!” —Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company, “The Refugees continues our opportunity to get to know Viet Thanh Nguyen, who we met with The Sympathizer. This gorgeous collection of short stories recalls Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, but with Vietnam as the loose center around which the richly drawn characters orbit . Bebe Jacobs/Grove Atlantic hide caption . With the self-reflection of memoir and the clear-eyed, impartial narration of a history, Nguyen takes readers deep inside his characters in a mere few pages . . I’ve come here.’ YES, I say to that. In his first short story collection, writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for his novel The Sympathizer, takes a look at how it feels and what it means to be a refugee. ‘I haven’t come back, he said. Nguyen’s next fiction book, The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. Nguyen recalls, “A guerrilla army of former South Vietnamese soldiers was training in the jingles of Thailand, preparing to launch a counterattack in unified Vietnam. [A] poignant collection of short stories . . The collection’s subtle, attentive prose and straightforward narrative style perfectly suit the low-profile civilian lives it explores . Viet Thanh Nguyen Is The Pro-Refugee Voice America Needs To Hear "Those of us who are refugees and immigrants or who support them, we have to use every tool at our disposal, including our writing." Uncle confirmed it when I called. . But Nguyen never asks the reader to pity them; he wants us only to see them as human beings. . . . . Nguyen is an exceptional storyteller who packs an enormous amount of information and images into a short work . . It’s hard not to feel for Nguyen’s characters . Then came stories of terror like the one about the reporter, the moral being that life, like the police, enjoys beating people now and again. These are fully human tales, what these vividly rendered characters encounter, all in some way, taking on the shock of arrival in a new land, if not departure from what had been home. In our moment, to look faithfully and empathetically at the scars made by dislocation, to bear witness to the past pain and present vulnerability such scars speak of, is itself a political act. But they aren’t, or at least not in Nguyen’s capable hands. As one of Nguyen's character reflects, "Stories are just things we fabricate, nothing more. Forthcoming in February 2017. . beautiful and heartrending . . . Ultimately, Nguyen enlarges empathy, the high ideal of literature and the enemy of hate and fear.” —Boris Kachka, New York, “The 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner returns with a beautifully crafted collection that explores the netherworld of Vietnamese refugees, whose lives and cultural dislocation he dissects with precision and grace.” —O, The Oprah Magazine, “The Refugees showcases the same astute and penetrating intelligence that characterized [Nguyen’s] Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer . . But what also makes him such a notable writer is how he can oscillate from comedy to tragedy . Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. . . Nguyen’s flair with words and his genius at succinct, compelling plots and dynamic characters creates huge worlds in few pages. . Nguyen’s writing–as polished and powerful as it was in The Sympathizer—confirms the author’s place among today’s most compelling literary voices.” —Lien E. Le, Harvard Crimson, “The stories abound with images of doubleness and surreal twists of perception, often imbuing the narratives with a dreamlike clarity and strangeness . . . ", A Dark, Funny — And Vietnamese — Look At The Vietnam War, Author Viet Thanh Nguyen Discusses 'The Sympathizer' And His Escape From Vietnam. When the writer's mother mentions that she was visited by the ghost of her son, killed by pirates on the boat voyage to America, the writer wonders whether she might be on the verge of senility. ', 'If youth was not wasted, how could it be youth? Dedicated to “all refugees, everywhere,” The Refugees is a selection of nine stories from Nguyen’s 20 years of writing. Harrowing yet heartening . Viet’s stories succeed.” —Akhil Sharma, Electric Literature, “A remarkable work of fiction.” —Bustle (“15 of 2017’s Most Anticipated Fiction Books”), “Both a timely work of fiction and an artistic retrospective of a community’s voyage over the decades.” —Paul Taunton, National Post (Buzz-worthy Books for February), “Nguyen’s brilliant new work of fiction offers vivid and intimate portrayals of characters and explores identity, war, and loss in stories collected over a period of two decades.” —Millions (Most Anticipated Book Previews), “A collection of stories that could not be any more relevant for the years that lie ahead. . . 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 … Even if you've read the news reports or seen the horrifying photographs, it's hard to fathom the terrible extent of the Syrian refugee crisis. We shared a passion for words, but I preferred writing in silence while she loved to talk. The plan was to stir the unhappy people against their Communistrulers, incite a revolution, and resurrect the Republic of the South.” Nguyen . . He is also the author of the short story collection The Refugees, the nonfiction book Nothing Ever Dies, a finalist for the National Book Award, and is the editor of an anthology of refugee writing, The Displaced. all Nguyen’s fiction is pervaded by a shared intensity of vision, by stinging perceptions that drift like windblown ashes.” —Joyce Carol Oates, New Yorker, “These stories of Vietnamese refugees cast a lingering spell . Throughout the collection Nguyen crafts a personal language and imagery superbly fitted to each character’s volatile, near-inexpressible memories and reflections. While Nguyen offers philosophical battles both internal and external, he also uses language that is delivered with reverence and grace, conjuring robust imagery . . . As our first major Vietnamese-American writer, Nguyen is a prodigious genius making up for lost time.” –Marion Winik, Newsday, “At a time when paranoia about refugees and migrants has reached a new high in America and perhaps the world, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s first collection of short stories, The Refugees, adds a necessary voice humanizing this group of demonized people . He is the author of The Sympathizer, which was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for First Novel, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen also possesses an extraordinary ability to evoke the everyday, the quotidian details of ordinary lives in vivid, direct prose.” —Bron Sibree, South China Morning Post, “The Refugees will haunt its readers, especially in these times, when refugee stories need to be told, shared, and told again, ad infinitum.” —Rien Fertel, A.V. These books do stand apart, distinct from each other, which makes the world limned in these stories even more remarkable. . . . Nguyen’s vision of the Vietnamese migration to the United States and its impact on the nation is complex. I never took her stories seriously. starting quietly with an assured fullness, yet becomes more insistent until fully realized. . --Financial Times (UK) "At a time when paranoia about refugees and migrants has reached a new high in America and perhaps the world, Viet Thanh Nguyen's first collection of short stories, The Refugees, adds a necessary voice humanizing this group of … Read it now, or read it later—but read it.” —Claire Fallon, Huffington Post, “The Refugees is full of complicated family dynamics, cultural rifts and surprising resolutions . . . His are rich, transformative tales whose truths run deep and whose characters’ plights move us.” —Malcolm Forbes, National (Abu Dhabi), “A tremendously compelling read. Some have, some have since closed the door. . . [An] unpretentious, deliberate and well-observed collection.” —Eileen Battersby, Irish Times, “The eight stories that make up this brief volume are a delight . . . [Nguyen’s] understanding of the refugee tragedy . That is why we see these shades so rarely, and why we must seek them out.". Each rather difficult, yet short and provocative. . . with a unique poetry.” —Fatima Bhutto, Financial Times (UK), “With President Trump’s recent attempt to ban refugees from entering America, the quiet but impressively moving tales dissecting the Vietnamese experience in California in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees are a powerful antidote to all the fear mongering and lies out there . Viet Thanh Nguyen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. It's a beautiful story about love, fear and loss, rendered perfectly by Nguyen. is profound. This is an important and incisive book written by a major writer with firsthand knowledge of the human rights drama exploding on the international stage–and the talent to give us inroads toward understanding it . The short story is a beautiful affirmation of the supreme importance of art in our daily lives. Nguyen was born in Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam in 1971, the son of refugees from North Vietnam who moved south in 1954. With the coruscating gaze of The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. . They are also humorous and smart . . The book takes place over two and a half decades, from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, and is told in both the first and third persons. Each intimate, supple, and heartrending story is unique in its particulars even as all are works of piercing clarity, poignant emotional nuance, and searing insights into the trauma of war and the long chill of exile, the assault on identity and the resilience of the self, and the fragility and preciousness of memories.” —Booklist (starred review), “For Nguyen groupies desperate for future titles (including a Sympathizer sequel), [The] Refugees is a highly gratifying interlude. The refugees (First edition.). I go hunting for the ghosts, something I can do without ever leaving home," she muses.
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