Viet Thanh Nguyen's 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. On October 10 this year Mr. Nguyen received a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship, often called the “genius grant.”
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.