There had never been a time when I was unable to read a novel before bed. Enter Vuong’s novel. I could not read this one before sleep. I tended to lie awake with the raw, emotional quality of his writing, unable to turn off my mind and rest. Yes. It is that good. Like Tommy Orange, I dog-eared so many of these pages and made so many notes (most to the effect of “!!!”) that the book looks worn, though I bought it new. It will remain on my shelf forever, until an act of god removes it from such shelf. While many of my other novels I give away to future readers, this one I cannot bear to part with.
With an experimental and thoroughly poetic manner, the story is told through one-line, jaw-dropping snippets or longer, few-page vignettes that stun the reader and lay bare the elements of what it is to be human, different, and misunderstood. Dealing with subjects ranging from immigration and the Vietnamese war to class and drug use, this novel will redefine what you consider a good novel.