The Refugees


Rushing to the plane on Thursday, i downloaded The Refugees, a collection of short stories by Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer. I should have known that it wouldn’t be a laugh-a-minute gagfest to guide me back to Singapore, but I’d hoped not every story would be almost enough to bring me to tears. 

That said, I was so tired on the plane home that I couldn’t grasp the plot of most of the stories; things seemed to happen, then other things happened, and probably most of those were bad. When my eyes were swimming badly enough for me not to be able to read, i stopped. 

That left me with some more misery to distract myself from my migraine yesterday; there were tales of deception, disappointment, deceit. The most optimistic sorry is where a man discovers his ex wife is nine months pregnant and they might have a future together. The rest is built, embarrassment, betrayal, and the long miserable march into senescence. 

So, although it’s written well, i couldn’t really recommend it unless you’re feeling a bit too happy and really need your mood taken down. Maybe I should reread it when I can actually read. 

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