His novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as five other awards. Phuc nodded vigorously. “Have you ever heard anything so stupid?”, “No,” Phuong said. After Vivien paid the family’s fares, Hanh and Phuc seized the lead, the former tugging on his mother’s hand. A monorail traversed the park above the keen crowds, and in the distance a roller coaster rumbled. The community celebration offers music, dance, art, speaker series,… (read more), Viet Thanh Nguyen “Too outrageous for you?”, “Not at all!” Phuong hoped that she projected an air of confidence and ease, unlike her brothers. By nine the next morning she was alone in the house, the boys gone to school, her parents at work. “Since you’ve seen where your sister works, let me take you on one of my tours tomorrow.”. There, pressed into her sister’s back under the weight of a humid night, she discovered that even lying down Vivien had broken into a sweat. One day Phuong too would leave this place, for Saigon was boring and the country itself not big enough for the desires in her heart. When she arrived, Vivien carried with her a schedule of the sights she wanted to see, complete with estimated travel times via train, bus, car, hydrofoil, or plane. USC PAM Event: Southeast Asian Refugee Narratives, December 9, 2020 Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Then Vivien rolled over on her side to face the wall, where a green gecko clung patiently to the plaster. Upstairs, after Vivien closed the door to the room that Phuong shared with her parents, she pulled one of her crimson suitcases out from underneath Phuong’s narrow bed. “I’m sorry, Phuong. platform. “Did you know that when she came to the States, she told the government she was twenty-five?”. It was merely a matter of momentum, and she now knew how to begin. While Phuong aimed Vivien’s camera, father and daughter had wrapped their arms around each other’s waists. “I don’t want anyone holding me back.”. “Good plan,” said Vivien, fanning herself with the park brochure. He is the author of The Sympathizer, which was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction alongside seven other prizes.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. “What do you mean, what for?” Mr. Ly was incredulous. Monuments Project: Expanding the American Story, Catch Viet at one of these appearances in the coming months and say hello! Whenever he spoke to Phuong at home, it was mostly to call for another beer, to fetch him his cigarettes, or to request a particular dish for dinner. “One hundred percent.” Vivien raised her glass, using the classic toast he had taught her. It was Vivien’s idea to treat the family to dinner at Nam Kha, a way to celebrate the halfway point in her vacation and an option Phuong would never have suggested, the restaurant’s offerings being far more than Phuong or her family could ever afford. Viet Thanh Nguyen. In the foyer, an attendant had handed them polyester parkas, hooded, knee length, and in neon hues of yellow, pink, orange, and green. “But it’s a crime, don’t you think?” Vivien said, glancing over the entrées. This short story shares some elements of the previous story. “There’s something I’ve always wanted to know.” When their father looked up, Vivien said, “Why give your children with your next wife our names?”, This was the question Phuong had never asked, fearing the answer she always suspected, that she and her brothers were no more than regrets born into flesh. He was a man of rare praise, except when it came to his first trio of children. The reason for such behavior, her father said, was that the foreign tourists only knew one thing about this country, the war. T he Refugees is a collection of short stories by Viet Thanh Nguyen about Vietnamese immigrants and their children, many of whom fled Vietnam after the … This story is also in Nguyen's collection, The Refugees (Grove Atlantic, 2017).It features a … ... at least, Liem starts to rebel against his cultural identity, in the same way that other characters do in other short stories. Review: In Viet Thanh Nguyen’s ‘The Refugees,’ wistfulness is an anthem of displacement Writer Viet Thanh Nguyen’s new book is the short story … Their father loved Vivien more than her. It was easy, then, in the weeks leading to Vivien’s arrival, for Phuong to pass her days at home and at work constructing scenarios of a noble, kindly sister, somewhat solemn and sad, but nevertheless gentle and patrician, who would immediately take to her and become the mentor and guide Phuong never had. A flurry rose above the neighboring roofs, and she couldn’t help but pause to admire for a moment the clear and depthless sky into which the ashes vanished, an inverted blue bowl of the finest crystal, covering the whole of Saigon as far as her eyes could see. Literary, translation, and film rights are handled by Nat Sobel … If I stay here I’ll marry some boy with no future and live with his family and have two children too soon and sleep in a room where I can touch both walls at the same time. Vivien stared at the ceiling fan stirring the hot air of a typically humid night. These tunnels, then, were a must-see on their itineraries. After she dropped the photo into the bucket, she watched it curl up and shrivel, remembering how Vivien had approached her after she took the picture and tried to make amends. Their cabin was nearing the She was about to turn and enter the house when a gust of wind surged down the alley, catching the ashes and blowing them away. It’s only an act.”. Viet Thanh Nguyen 404D Taper Hall Department of English University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354 Email. But I knew you would come back to see the one I named after you.”, Vivien glanced at Phuong, who maintained a stoic expression. And so, when the first such letter finally arrived, it was the cause of a great deal of excitement. La Tour d’Ivoire on Tran Hung Dao. “What do you want to do tomorrow?” Mr. Ly asked Vivien. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. Mr. Ly had laminated each of the photographs to protect them from humidity and fingerprints, keeping them neatly stacked on a side table by the couch in the living room. Phuong had hoped for enthusiasm and would have settled for reluctance, confusion, or condescension, but she was not prepared for the panic on her sister’s face. But Vivien was her sister and a doctor, and there was no need to be shy. Thanks to Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation for funding this site. The suitcase had been loaded with gifts from Vivien and her mother, from jeans and shirts to medicines and makeup, even shampoo and conditioner that had been bottled in the United States and were hence more valuable than the same brand bottled in a local plant. And so the letter went, her sister’s hypocrisy making Phuong so ill that it was all she could do not to tear the letter in half. Foreigners that they were, they could not tell the difference between a Communist and a man the Communists had exiled to a New Economic Zone. Literary, translation, and film rights are handled by Nat Sobel … “So I thought I’d come here. “I want to be like you,” Phuong said, gripping her sister’s hands in her own. “Vivien?” Mrs. Ly said, reading the name signed at the bottom of the letter. If he were only an adulterer and a playboy, then there would be cause for resentment, but he was in decline, a failure without even the glamour of decadence and bad behavior. Mr. Ly, who made a humble living as a tour guide, reviewed the itinerary and said, “I couldn’t have done better myself.”. She hadn’t told Vivien that she was still wearing her gift, delighting in it like a child with a new and magical toy. Credits: Director and Artist – Matt Huynh Writer and Narrator… (read more), Posted on December 5, 2013 | I don’t mind spending money. A big congratulations to Viet Thanh Nguyen, who is joining the Pulitzer Prize Board as its first Asian-American and Vietnamese-American member. On the wall, over scabbing blue paint, someone had drawn the stick figure of a girl with a mop of hair, fingers flashing a V, eternally optimistic. Labels: Gulf Coast Nguyen. For the best visual quality, please download the PDF. In all the years that Mr. Ly had worked as a tour guide, he had never asked Phuong to accompany him. Email, For review copies or bookstore events, contact publicity@groveatlantic.com for The Sympathizer or The Refugees and Margaux Leonard of Harvard University Press for Nothing Ever Dies, Literary, translation, and film rights are handled by Nat Sobel at Sobel Weber Associates, 146 East 19 Street I looked out the window of the airplane until I couldn’t see the country anymore, she wrote. The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Photo: Amazon) Genre: Short story. That’s the way it should be. Instead, after rummaging underneath these things, she dug out a small pink bag, somewhat crumpled from its journey, and presented it to Phuong. The trips to Da Lat and Vung Tau?”, “In America, they pay you extra when they fire you. Nguyen’s first novel, The Sympathizer, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Viet Thanh Nguyen 404D Taper Hall Department of English University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354 Email. The community celebration offers music, dance, art, speaker series,… (read more), Viet Thanh Nguyen A week later their father would develop the photograph, but it would take Phuong a moment to examine the laminated picture before she remembered what was absent underneath the clear plastic. Even after a week in Saigon, Vivien would appear no more of a native than on the day she arrived, at least in outdoor settings. © 1997-2020 Viet Thanh Nguyen All Rights Reserved. Even receptionists get a nice check from big companies.” Vivien fumbled in her purse as their cabin continued its descent. “I won’t bother you.” Phuong touched Vivien on the arm, sticky with perspiration. I want to be waited on. The Ferris wheel rotated at its measured pace, slow enough for them to step out, Vivien first. Leave a comment, “A Correct Life” was originally published in Best New American Voices, 2007 edition, pages 97 – 117. The record player you gave me, and the records too.”, “The dumbest part was the confessions.” Mr. Ly stared into his glass, as if all the lessons learned in the labor camp, once distilled, merely served to fill it. Iowa City, Iowa 52240, (319) 338-5640 or kevin@tuesdayagency.com. They live in a condo in West Tulsa. From there, … In the Ice Lantern’s glow, her sister’s face looked more like her father’s than Phuong’s did, the symmetry rendering clear what Phuong could now say. Viet Thanh Nguyen 404D Taper Hall Department of English University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354 Email. “L’Amiral on Thai Lap Thanh. Eavesdropping on them, Phuong was relieved not to be the object of their fascination. There were worms in the rice, which was mostly water. “A secret.” When Phuong turned her head, she could see into Vivien’s ear, the canal small and dark. I wrote enough pages for a whole autobiography, but every chapter said the same thing.”, Phuong sighed, but Vivien was listening intently, chin cupped on her hand. University of Southern California By Viet Thanh Nguyen Author: Viet was born in Buon Me Thuot, Vietnam. Struggling with distance learning? “We’ll make an album from them.”. And Viet Thanh Nguyen drives that point home brilliantly.”―Mekong Review “A collection of short stories that span [Nguyen’s] 20-year struggle to earn the title of ‘writer.’”―Mother Jones Despite her bared skin, Vivien neglected to use mosquito repellent, and she complained whenever the weather was hot, which was, according to her, nearly every second of the day and night. “You’ve never appreciated what you have.” Her father waved his hand over the meal, and Phuong squeezed her glass, bracing herself to hear the stories of her parents one more time. For review copies or bookstore events, contact publicity@groveatlantic.com for The Sympathizer or The Refugees and Margaux Leonard of Harvard University Press for Nothing Ever Dies. Until then his wife had been ignorant of the mistress’s existence, and she responded to the discovery by fleeing the country with her children on a perilous boat trip. Without questions or criticism, he followed Vivien’s plan for visiting temples and cathedrals, shopping malls and museums, beaches and resorts, south through the Mekong Delta, west to Vung Tau, north to Da Lat, and, within Saigon, from the dense, cacophonous alleys of the Chinese quarter in Cho Lon to the glamour of downtown’s Dong Khoi, where Nam Kha was the most expensive restaurant on the boulevard. Their table was by the reflecting pool, across from which two young women sat on a cushioned dais, wearing silken, ephemeral ao dai and plucking gently at the sixteen strings of the zithers braced on their laps. Not for the first time, Phuong imagined herself in her sister’s place, wearing a white coat in a white room, looking out a wall of windows at a haze of white snow. Can you love someone you don’t remember? “I never thought I’d say this,” Vivien had said, smiling as she clasped Phuong’s hand, “but I’m cold.” Even a month later, Phuong could feel the chilliness of the Ice Lantern, and how she had shivered and turned away toward Egypt’s crystalline sand. He sat on the couch and slit the envelope carefully, using one of the few relics from his past he had managed to keep, a silver letter opener with an ivory handle. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. On a billboard outside were brightly colored photos depicting glacial facsimiles of the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, and other manmade wonders of the world, lit in a rainbow of neon. Viet sells novel The Sympathizer to Grove/Atlantic. A weevil of envy resurfaced nearly every day of Vivien’s visit, for her father was behaving completely unlike himself, as if he were competing to win Vivien’s approval. You’re not falling in love, you just want to love him.”, “You know what my mother told me when I said I was going to Viet Nam?” Vivien paused. Viet Thanh Nguyen 404D Taper Hall Department of English University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354 Email. I don’t want to spend my life waiting on people. It would be best, she thought, to do what needed to be done outdoors, and so she placed a stool by the living room gate and a tin bucket on the pavement of the alley. “What’s that?” Vivien refilled her own glass. The Refugees Summary. Of The Displaced, The Economist says that “If the world’s 65.5 million forcibly displaced people formed their own country, it would be the 21st-largest…one of the many things that this imaginary nation lacks…is a literary canon. “All my friends found jobs at the park so we could meet boys.”, “Did you find a boyfriend?” Phuong leaned a shoulder against her sister’s arm. For review copies or bookstore events, contact publicity@groveatlantic.com for The Sympathizer or The Refugees and Margaux Leonard of Harvard University Press for Nothing Ever Dies. A stupid reason, isn’t it?”, “Where’s all the money coming from?” Phuong could not tabulate how much her sister had spent, but she knew it was in the thousands of dollars. After an extensive nominating process, the board chooses the winners from a list of finalists in each category and may additionally give a… (read more), Viet Thanh Nguyen gives a keynote speech at the “Transcendients Community Celebration: Challenging Borders” for the Japanese American Nation Museum The Transcendients Community Celebration: Challenging Borders, a free one-day event, kicks off on Saturday, March 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Japanese American National Museum. Leave a comment →. He will be presenting on his academic work or, at the literary events, reading from and talking about his most recent books: the novel The Sympathizer (2015), the cultural history Nothing Ever Dies (2016), the short story collection The Refugees (2017), and the children’s book Chicken of the… (read more), Viet Thanh Nguyen joins the Pulitzer Prize board as its first Vietnamese-American member. For the best visual quality, please download the PDF. Then, embraced by clammy weather once they stepped off the air-conditioned bus at Ben Dinh, Vivien could only mutter that this was not exactly her idea of fun. I don’t remember him. He clinked his glass against hers, gazed on his sons affectionately, and said, “Yours is a lucky generation.”. She returned her father’s gaze and clinked her glass against his. She was worried her sister might see her this way as well, but when her father waved the tourists onward and Vivien followed, she appeared to be concerned only with brushing away the small cloud of mosquitoes hovering around her. In a few days or a week or two weeks, they would leave, their most vivid memory about this day being the funny experience of crawling on their knees through a tunnel, and a vague memory of the passionate little tour guide and his passable English. Once againshe felt a surge of pity for him, certain not only that her father would break his daughter’s heart but also that the daughters would one day break his. It was easier just to answer than to say I wasn’t a doctor. Sometimes guests would ask to photograph her, requests that initially flattered her and now irritated her. “I thought I would come here and I would love my father.”, “You don’t love him?” Phuong propped her head on her hand. “You should be able to eat where you work at least once in your lifetime.”, “The real crime is five dollars for morning glory fried in garlic,” Mrs. Ly said. “So here I am,” Vivien said. “Later we see new tunnels, made big just for you. Everyone said so who heard the story, of how Phuong’s father had named his second set of children after his first. I want to come back here and know I can leave. Inside were a black lace brassiere and black lace panties, a wispy thong rather than one of the scratchy, full-bottomed cotton affairs that Phuong’s mother bought for her in packages of a dozen. PDF-a13dd | 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 Debut Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the ALA In the occasional dispatches sent by Vivien’s mother, a picture had emerged of an independent young woman, the unmarried pediatrician who had backpacked solo through western Europe and vacationed in Hawaii, the Bahamas, Rio. “This is weird,” Vivien had said, hunching her shoulders from the cold as she stood before a miniature London Bridge. Her sister’s restless presence in Phuong’s bed and the caress of the lace on her skin rendered the usual unusual, sharpening Phuong’s perceptions as if before this they had amounted to no more than a dull pencil, allowing her to write in her mind with ever-increasing precision the outline of her desires and the characters in her life, none more vivid than her father, whom she pitied and, even worse, did not respect. Phuong hesitated. It was amazing we had blood left for the leeches.”, “It wasn’t so much better at home,” Mrs. Ly chimed in. In this collection, Viet Thanh Nguyen begins to assemble one.” “We reunite our country through courage and sacrifice!”. Phuong had seen the film once, on a pirated videotape, and was seduced immediately by the glamour, beauty, and sadness of Scarlett O’Hara, heroine and embodiment of a doomed South. What she actually looked like she never knew, for while everyone promised to send her the pictures, no one ever had. 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