Reviews

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.
Butterfly Yellow is a Vietnamese refugee story but also an American one—the way the idea of America is not exactly aligned with the way America actually is.
Vũ and Dương’s sweeping memoir unveils to the English-language reader a three pronged journey that would otherwise be held in mystery: the work of Vietnamese war correspondents during the Việt Nam War, the experience of South Vietnamese citizens, particularly women, imprisoned in Communist “re-education” camps, and the agonizing captivity of refugees held as hostages by Thai pirates.
And so this is the ultimate loss, the thing that haunts us the most, because it’s the ghost of not being heard through the sound of the gun, through the sound of War, through the voices of others. This is the lesson that carries itself throughout The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born.
What makes this biographical novel different? Lafcadio Hearn gets none of the words. Instead, Truong chose to tell the history of Hearn through the women in his life.
In depicting the resettlement hardships of Vietnamese refugees in America during the late 20th century, playwright Quí Nguyễn creates a full  portrait of the Vietnamese refugee during their first few years in America. He offers us a way to see that one can look back at a past filled with vulnerability, naivety, and failures, and laugh at it all even while crying, and still be pleased with all that has passed.