Thuận, 2022
Photo: Trần Trọng Vũ

Born under the bombs that the US let fall on the North of Vietnam, Thuận grew up first in Hanoi, then Saigon, where she studied Vietnamese literature at school and read Hugo, Balzac and Flaubert at home. Soviet Russia took her in as an 18-year-old and gave her five years of college education, but it was only at la Sorbonne that she discovered Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva and Mikhail Bakhtin. Writing ensnared her the moment she arrived in Paris, in the form of short stories which were all discarded a few years later when she threw herself into the work of a novelist. Chinatown, her debut novel in English, won a PEN Translates Award and was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2023. Her latest work-in-progress is her tenth novel, tentatively entitled B-52.

“For me, writing is difficult. Writing long is even more difficult. With novels, the number of pages itself is already a challenge. Not to mention the structure, style, rhythm, characters. . . I think of writing a novel as a dangerous adventure—the most dangerous thing being not knowing where it’s going to go.”

“ ‘Only I could Come up with That’ ”: Interview by Phương Anh on Asymptote



  • Made in Vietnam (2002)
  • Chinatown (2005)
  • Paris 11 tháng 8 (2005)
  • T mất tích (2007)
  • Vân Vy (2009)
  • Thang máy Sài Gòn (2013)
  • Chỉ còn 4 ngày là hết tháng Tư (2015)
  • Thư gửi Mina (2019)
  • Sậy (2022)
  • B.52 (work-in-progress)

Selected translations (French-Vietnamese)

  • L’extension du domaine de la lutte, Michel Houellebecq
  • La position du tireur couché, Jean-Patrick Manchette
  • Les Mots, Jean-Paul Sartre (co-translated with Lê Ngọc Mai)
  • Le silence de mon père, Doan Bui
  • Les inconsolés, Minh Tran Huy
  • Sérotonine, Michel Houellebecq
  • Thésée, sa vie nouvelle, Camille de Tolédo