The Refugees - Viet Thanh Nguyen

Staff Pick

“Some people are haunted by the dead, others are haunted by the living,” Nguyen writes. His characters are haunted by the Vietnam War, a ghost that, after chasing them from home and into the disunited country of refugees, chills relationships, blurs identities, incites anger and even violence. Nguyen’s powerful and compassionate stories examine universal experiences—how to protect your children, how to live a good life, how to age gracefully—complicated by displacement. A woman retains a life-long fear of water after a rough ocean crossing to freedom. A former paratrooper raises his sons with the unforgiving discipline of a boot camp sergeant. A woman feels as if the girl she was perished with her brother when he disguised her as a boy, saving her from rapists. And a former B-52 bomber pilot found Earth most beautiful when he flew above it “and came closer to seeing the world from God’s eyes,” a perspective that conveniently overlooked the “bombs exploding, footfalls of an invisible giant stomping the earth.” With such achingly lovely descriptions, Nguyen sharpens the war’s tragedy and its complicated moral legacy.

The Refugees Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802126399
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - February 7th, 2017

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