Videos by Dan Shea
Book Talk at Powell’s Books Downtown Portland
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer was one of the most widely praised novels of 2015 and won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize. With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in his new collection of stories, The Refugees (Grove), 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 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.