Things We Lost to the Water

Things We Lost to the Water

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When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle in to life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father.

But with time, Huong realizes she will never see her husband again. While she copes with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memory and imagination. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong takes up with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity--as individuals and as a family--threatens to tear them apart. But then disaster strikes the city they now call home, and they must find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them.

A stunning debut novel about an immigrant Vietnamese family who settles in New Orleans and struggles to remain connected to one another as their lives are inextricably reshaped.

Title:Things We Lost to the Water
ISBN:9780593317952
Format Type:

    Things We Lost to the Water Reviews

  • Roxane

    This novel follows a Vietnamese family that flees to the United States in 1979 over the next 26 years. I was captivated. The writing is absolutely gorgeous. The structure is such that we never get to ...

  • jessica

    with poetic prose reminiscent of ‘on earth were briefly gorgeous’ and a realness and honesty of the immigrant experience similar to ‘the leavers,’ this is an impressive debut.i enjoyed...

  • Angela M

    This is a moving story of a Vietnamese family, separated by the expanse of water. The water imagery is skillfully interspersed throughout and the title perfectly illustrates that this is a story of lo...

  • Elyse  Walters

    Gorgeous.. This is a beautiful powerful historical fiction debut novel about a Vietnam family escaping -- leaving at-- the end of the Vietnam war. Many Vietnamese fled to America in the mid-1970s and ...

  • Thomas

    A powerful novel about a young mother who leaves Vietnam with her two sons and arrives in New Orleans in 1979. Over the next 26 years, we see how Huong and her two sons, Tuan and Binh/Ben, cope with t...

  • Lisa

    A striking novel about a young mother who leaves Viet Nam in 1979 with her two young boys to live in New Orleans East. Because the structure jumps between characters and time, it was a while before I ...

  • Larry H

    Eric Nguyen's debut novel, Things We Lost to the Water , is a beautifully written look at an immigrant Vietnamese family, and how their lives are shaped or reshaped by America.Huong and her two you...

  • Mai Nguy?n

    A devastatingly beautiful debut novel of secrets, deceits, and survivals. An extraordinary tale of a mother and her two sons, torn apart by the storms of Vietnam, to be tested again by the hurricanes ...

  • luce

    / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / /3 ¼ stars “How unrecognizable America had made them, she was thinking, all of them.” Subtle yet deeply evocative Things We Lost to the Water is a novel ab...

  • Ari Levine

    3.5 stars, rounded down. This perceptive first novel follows the immigrant experience of a mother and her two sons, who arrive in New Orleans as refugees from Vietnam in 1979. Hoang has been forcibly ...