Publication Date: 20/04/2023 ISBN: 9780861545407 Category:

Dust Child

Nguyen Phan Que Mai

Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Publication Date: 20/04/2023 ISBN: 9780861545407 Category:




‘DAZZLING.’ Elif Shafak, author of The Island of Missing Trees

‘LYRICAL AND DEEPLY EMPATHETIC.’ Gabrielle Zevin, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Four lives, entwined forever by decisions made in a time of conflict. But what happens decades later when they unexpectedly converge once more?

It is 1969, and sisters Trang and Quynh watch helplessly as their rural village is transformed by the outbreak of war. Desperate to help their impoverished parents, they head to the thronging city of Sai Gon and join the legions of women working as ‘bar girls’, paid to flirt with American GIs. What follows will test their sisterhood in ways they could never have foreseen.

Decades later Viet Nam is thriving, successfully emerging out of the shadow of war. But Dan and Phong, two men whose lives were transformed by their experiences on different sides of the conflict, are struggling to leave the past behind.

What happens when these four characters unexpectedly come together once more, and each is forced to grapple with the legacy of decisions made in the past – decisions that continue to reverberate through all their lives?

Dust Child is their unforgettable story.

‘Nguyen Phan Que Mai is one of the most unique storytellers of our time.’ Natalie Jenner, internationally bestselling-author of The Jane Austen Society

A Best Book of the Year according to Book Riot, the Buzz Magazines, Cosmopolitan and Reader’s Digest

A Most Anticipated Title according to Sydney Morning Herald, Salon, NB Magazine and SheReads

Publisher Review

‘Powerful and deeply empathetic… A heartbreaking tale of lost ideals, human devotion, and hard-won redemption.’ — Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of The Sympathizer ‘Beautifully crafted, haunting… A masterful display of Que Mai’s capacity to evoke compassion through her lyrical prose.’ — Irish Times ‘Dazzling. Sharply drawn and hauntingly beautiful.’ — Elif Shafak, Women’s Prize-shortlisted author of The Island of Missing Trees ‘Que Mai is interested in the personal cost of conflict. She is a skilled storyteller, and her lyrical turn of phrase reflects her characters’ backgrounds as well as their emotions… Que Mai demonstrates a deep understanding of splintered lives. The compassionate treatment of her characters, insights into the period and eloquent prose are impressive.’ — FT ‘Intricately weaved, the characters coax you into their world effortlessly. An important historical moment and Nguyen Phan Que Mai is a knowledgeable and sympathetic guide.’ — Melody Razak, author of Moth ‘Notable for its boundless compassion for all the characters, from young, brutalised US soldiers to the girls who pretend to love them and the dust children left behind.’ — The Times ‘A family epic to remember… Dust Child brings together an unforgettable cast of characters whose lives have forever been changed by past violence. Spanning decades and disparate lives, the book deftly explores the ways we both inherit trauma and redefine our own paths forward.’ — Chicago Review of Books ‘Once again, Nguyen Phan Que Mai has written a beautiful novel that shines a light on the history of Vietnam… Dust Child is simply stunning.’ — Eric Nguyen, author of Things We Lost to the Water ‘A heartbreaking, beautifully told, utterly unique story of love, loss, and longing that speaks to the very heart of the human experience.’ — Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars ‘Que Mai shows us the capacity we hold to confront our pasts, for the purpose of life is not to remain intact, but to break open, to let loss be a guide, to face the echoes of longing. In Dust Child, rupture leads to emotional richness and pain creates the pathways worth walking. I truly cannot wait for the rest of the world to celebrate this book.’ — Chanel Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Know My Name ‘Well-researched, realistic, and compassionately written… This eye-opening and fascinating novel is a must-read!’ — Le Ly Hayslip, bestselling author of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places ‘Nguyen Phan Que Mai is one of the most unique storytellers of our time… She creates plots which are Dickensian in their breadth and mastery, while bravely probing the complex emotional challenges of living in a modern world full of disruption and displacement.’ — Natalie Jenner, internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society ‘An evocative tale that sheds lights on a legacy of the Vietnam war that more should know about, Nguyen’s love for her country and its citizens shines through the pages of Dust Child.’ — Jing-Jing Lee, author of How We Disappeared ‘Scenes of past and present Viet Nam come alive in these pages… With her generous heart and unmatched ability to write across languages and cultures, Que Mai is the perfect guide for the wounded who search for home and healing.’ — Thi Bui, author of The Best We Could Do ‘From the author of the bestselling book The Mountains Sing comes this epic story of those who lived through the Viet Nam conflict or were otherwise deeply affected by it decades later.’ — Ms Magazine, ‘Most Anticipated Feminist Books of 2023’ ‘Mai’s American debut (after numerous books in her native Vietnam) was The Mountains Sing, a devastatingly poetic account of how political strife tore one family apart over generations. Dust Child now takes on the difficult subject of Amerasians left behind once the American military fled its own misadventures in Southeast Asia. Look for a reception akin to Min Jin Lee’s bestselling Pachinko.’

— LA Times ‘The intimate care for every character is phenomenally beautiful.’ — Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Nguyen’s novels, suffused with kindness and understanding, are an important and accessible tool to delve deeply into the perspectives of those whose lives were changed by the conflict. Her kaleidoscopic view opens doors of empathy and humanity.’ — Sydney Morning Herald ‘Dust Child stays with you. There is something so deeply sincere, even guileless, about it, a genuine sympathy and compassion that somehow subverts the usual expectations and rules of fiction.’

— New Zealand Listener ‘Epic in scope… Dust Child is a poignant, upsetting work, telling of multiple nationalities wrecked by war. It is about searching for meaning, and of forgiveness, or the impossibility of it. As [she] ponders, how fickle is perceived identity: that through emigration, and only through that, a child of dust could, perhaps be turned into a person of gold.’

— Otago Daily Times ‘Phenomenally beautiful.’ — Australian Women’s Weekly

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