Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Vietnamese American Literature Recommendations

Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer, compiled a reading list of Vietnamese and Vietnamese American authors for Lithub. I read lê thi diem thúy’s coming-of-age novel The Gangster We Are Looking For in college and can recommend it. Closing the list is Ocean Vuong’s 2016 poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, which is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I can only agree with Viet Thanh Nguyen:

“Ocean Vuong is the Walt Whitman of Vietnamese American literature. Lyrical, expansive, sexual, provocative, he sings of the Vietnamese body and of Vietnamese history.” 

I’m keeping my eyes open for the other picks on the list.

 Additionally, Viet Thanh Nguyen recently talked to Seth Meyers about the difference between immigrants and refugees, and what we can learn from the Vietnamese-American refugee experience in these troubled times.

Read the Political Divide

Lisa Lucas, head of the National Book Foundation, recommends two books to read to understand the current US – and help each ‘side’ understand the other: 

This year’s National Book Award finalist Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild about tea party supporters in Louisiana, and last year’s winner Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 

Between the World and Me is perhaps teh best book I’Ve read in the last five years, I might just reread Coates open letter about the Black condition, and I’ll add Strangers In Their Own Land to my to-read list.

Read the Political Divide