By Bich Minh Nguyen
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670020812, 304pp.)
Publication Date: July 23, 2009
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A mesmerizing novel about estranged sisters and the cultural and family history that binds them
Van and Linny Luong are as baffling to each other as their parents' Vietnamese legacy is to them both. Van, the quintessential overachiever, has applied the same studied diligence to her law career and marriage-a beau idéal that vaporized when Mr. Right walked out. Linny-pretty, fashionable, untethered-is grasping for purpose when her affair with a married man takes a humiliating turn. Each is the last person her sister would call, but when Mr. Luong summons them home for his American citizenship party, Van and Linny find themselves communing about their past-their late mother, their father's obsession with his Luong Arm invention, even the irony of their romantic straits. As these unlikely confidantes chart the uncertainty that defines them, they forge a tentative new relationship and the wherewithal to overcome disappointment.
Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "a writer to watch, a tremendous talent," Nguyen recasts her gifts marvelously in this first novel, infusing it with humor, compassion, and insight into siblings, aging parents, and the desires and ambitions that drive us.
"A lively, engaging novel of sisterly angst and the cultural heritage ... an exceptional debut, funny, insightful and literary, with lots to mull over after you put it down."
-- Chicago Tribune