Reading List | The Refugees
By Kate Klassa
A well crafted collection of short stories is a powerful thing, and Nguyen has proven himself a wielder of this power with his newest book. The Refugees is a politically-timely collection of stories that covers twenty years of tales about immigration, family, and identity. Nguyen himself was a Vietnamese refugee at a young age, and his experience lends an added air of authenticity to his characters. The Refugees is a slim novel yet it packs a load of emotional weight deep in its pages; each character is made approachable even in their foreignness. So often stories of refugees in modern days focus on the Middle East, but in basing his stories in Vietnam and covering a period of history he is familiar with, Nguyen allows The Refugees to cover familiar themes of homesickness, culture shock, and national identity without sounding too familiar. Nguyen’s excellent writing and his ability to create complex characters in a matter of pages makes The Refugees a short story collection worth noticing and reading again and again.