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1818
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VIET THANH NGUYEN reads from his new collection of short stories THE REFUGEES

The Refugees (Grove Press)

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 First Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen’s next fiction book, The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. 

With the coruscating gaze of The Sympathizer, in The Refugees Viet Thanh 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 second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, 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.

NOTE: As with all Skylight Books in-store events, this reading is free and open to the public (first come, first served). But because we're expecting a large crowd at this event, we'll be giving out numbered tickets to the signing line to keep things organized:

  • To get a ticket to the signing line, you must purchase a copy of The Refugees here at Skylight Books. Tickets will be available beginning February 7, 2017, the book's publication date.
  • For all website orders for this event, be sure to leave a note in the Order Comments field that you would like a ticket and plan to attend the event.
  • Can't attend? If you would like a signed book but will not be able to attend, click Signed Copy after adding the book to your cart and we'll do our best to get it signed for you. You  may pick up this book in the store after the event, or have it shipped to you.
  • Skylight's Friends with Benefits members get priority signing line tickets (and 20% off this and all other event books each month), so be sure to mention your membership (or join) when you order the book.

Praise for The Refugees

“Precise without being clinical, archly humorous without being condescending, and full of understanding; many of the stories might have been written by a modern Flaubert, if that master had spent time in San Jose or Ho Chi Minh City . . . [Nguyen’s] stories, excellent from start to finish, transcend ethnic boundaries to speak to human universals.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Each searing tale in Nguyen’s follow-up to the Pulitzer-winning The Sympathizer is a pressure cooker of unease, simmering with unresolved issues of memory and identity for the Vietnamese whose lives were disrupted by the “American War.” …Nguyen is not here to sympathize…but to challenge the experience of white America as the invisible norm. .” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Nguyen…presents a collection of fluidly modulated yet bracing stories about Vietnamese refugees in the U.S., powerful tales of rupture and loss that detonate successive shock waves. . . . Each intimate, supple, and heartrending story is unique in its particulars even as all are works of piercing clarity, poignant emotional nuance, and searing insights into the trauma of war and the long chill of exile, the assault on identity and the resilience of the self, and the fragility and preciousness of memories.”–Booklist (starred review)

“For Nguyen groupies desperate for future titles (including a Sympathizer sequel), [The] Refugees is a highly gratifying interlude. For short fiction fans of other extraordinary, between-culture collections such as Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, Nguyen won’t disappoint.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“A delight . . . The short story is a beautiful affirmation of the supreme importance of art in our daily lives. And Viet Thanh Nguyen drives that point home brilliantly.”—Mekong Review

Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. His novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as five other awards. He is also the author of the nonfiction books Nothing Ever Dies and Race and Resistance. The Aerol Arnold Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, he lives in Los Angeles.

Event date: 
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Refugees Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780802126399
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - February 7th, 2017

The Sympathizer: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802124944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - April 12th, 2016

Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780674660342
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harvard University Press - April 11th, 2016