Kimarlee was a brilliant, unforgettable writer we are devastated to lose. She was one of three fiction writers in Kundiman’s first Mentorship Lab, which brought together nine emerging writers for an intensive six-month program. In her application letter, she spoke about the importance of community, and we count ourselves as lucky to have communed and shared space alongside her this past year.
Nguyễn writes of Vietnamese history with such understanding and humanity that one can easily argue for The Mountains Sing's status as the great Vietnamese novel of our time. The irony, of course, is that this great Vietnamese novel is written in English.
"The tears are built-in to our war stories. Humor provides a back door to sadness that allows for a more gentle, and perhaps deeper, absorption of the story. That doesn't mean I in anyway try to lessen the horror in the story."
Bao: My parents loved Vietnamese arts and poetry but knew they lived in a culture that doesn’t value that. And yet here they had a son who was going into art in the English language, and they feared for my survival, which is a pressure a lot of people don’t understand.
diaCRITICS is a blog that showcases voices and stories from writers, artists and culture-makers of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora on and from all shores. We publish poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, visual art, and more. Our founding editor and publisher is Viet Thanh Nguyen. diaCRITICS is a project of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN).