Things We Lost to the Water
Poets & Writers Magazine|July - August 2021
Eric Nguyen whose debut novel, Things We Lost to the Water, was published in May by Knopf.
By Eric Nguyen
Things We Lost to the Water

Eric Nguyen whose debut novel, Things We Lost to the Water, was published in May by Knopf.

INTRODUCED BY

Nguyên Phan Quê Mai author of eleven books, most recently The Mountains Sing, published in 2020 by Algonquin Books.

Growing up in Vietnam, I was discouraged to read literary works by those who fled our country after the war, since they were branded as “traitors.” It took me years to start picking up books by Vietnamese refugees and acknowledge their importance. Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen is a novel that makes me reflect deeply on the complicated relationships among Vietnamese people: those who had no choice but to abandon the land of their birth and those who were forced to stay. While centering on the Vietnamese American experiences, this novel is a global tale of family, secrets, survival, and hope. Told in the voices of a mother, Hu’o’ng, and her two sons, Tuân and Bình (Ben), who were torn apart by the storms of Vietnam, only to be tested again by the hurricanes of New Orleans, Things We Lost to the Water is a devastatingly beautiful and necessary read. The ending brought me to tears. Eric’s talent radiates via his urgent prose and his ability to sketch the fine line between loyalty and betrayal, between what brings us together and what breaks us apart. More than a powerful book, this novel is an act of reconciliation; therefore I am delighted to have the opportunity to interview Eric for First Fiction 2021.

This story is from the July - August 2021 edition of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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This story is from the July - August 2021 edition of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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