I thought this was nonfiction memoir, but that’s my bad because it’s advertised as a novel – even on the front cover! Sigh…
A family of three, Mom and two young boys, is living in New Orleans after their flight from Vietnam in 1985 following a temporary stay in a Singapore refugee camp where the youngest boy was actually born. Dad, known as Cong, has chosen to remain in Vietnam but Mom, Huong, tells the boys that Dad died trying to leave. This affects so much of everyone’s life for so long – his absence is a presence The elder boy, Tuan, who knew his dad briefly, has troubles growing up. The younger boy, Bihn/Ben has a somewhat easier time. And Mom is just torn up.
Things We Lost to the Water
By Eric Nguyen
Read by Quyen Ngo 10h 38m
Rating 8 / contemp fiction
They try to hang together but life conspires to make things difficult as they live in poverty in ghetto-type neighborhood of mixed ethnicity where they seem not to fit anywhere and are often mistaken for Chinese. Their troubles range from employment and money to school and social workers to non-Vietnamese friends, etc and Mom holding down two jobs. I’ll not go further except to say that it ends very neatly and with a lot of action.