Ten novels written, nine published in Vietnamese, seven translated into French, and two coming to English readers soon.
Made in Vietnam
Văn Mới, California, 2002
Hà Nội in the year 2000 is a place between modernity and tradition, between chaos and boredom. Phượng, a young married journalist, tells of the absurdities in life and in her life in this novel without paragraph breaks.
NXB Đà Nẵng & Nhà sách Kiến thức, 2005
Nhã Nam & NXB Văn học, 2009
Nhã Nam & NXB Phụ nữ, 2022
A fantastical interior monologue, looking back to the narrator’s childhood in early ‘80s Hanoi, university studies in Leningrad, and the travails and ironies of life in France as an immigrant and single mother.
🇫🇷 Chinatown, translated by Đoàn Cầm Thi. Seuil, 2009.
🇬🇧 Chinatown, translated by Nguyễn An Lý, Tilted Axis Press (worldwide) & New Directions (US), 2022.
Paris 11 tháng 8
NXB Đà Nẵng, 2005
A timid and homely woman who earns her living as a professional bather for the elderly, Liên finds her life upended in the 2003 heatwaves, which killed fifteen thousand old people in Paris in one day. Interspersed with newspaper extracts covering the historical day, the novel is an exercise in dark humor.
🇫🇷 Paris 11 août, translated by Yves Bouillé. Riveneuve, 2014.
T mất tích
Nhã Nam & NXB Hội nhà văn, 2007
The woman vanishes. Out of boredom, her French husband goes on a search and investigation, and finds out things not only about his Vietnamese wife but also his fellow country men. A roman noir spanning provinces and social strata.
🇫🇷 T. a disparu, translated by Đoàn Cầm Thi. Riveneuve, 2012.
Nhã Nam & NXB Hội nhà văn, 2009
Life of the immigrant Vietnamese is one of constant culture clashes, between the pulls of the past and the present. But to the younger generation, does their intellectual freedom come at the price of political apathy, material conformism and far worse compromises?
Thang máy Sài Gòn
Nhã Nam & NXB Hội nhà văn, 2013
She leaves for Sài Gòn to attend the funeral of her estranged mother, a retired apparatchik who has just died in a mysterious elevator accident, to find another kind of mystery which leads her all the way back to Paris. Who is Paul Polotsky, this man who appeared in Hỏa Lò prison in the very last days of the First Indochina war?
🇫🇷 L’ascenseur de Saïgon, translated by the author and Janine Gillon. Riveneuve, 2013.
🇬🇧 Elevator in Saigon, translated by Nguyễn An Lý, Tilted Axis Press (worldwide) & New Directions (US), 2024.
Nhã Nam & NXB Hội nhà văn, 2015
Only 4 days before the end of April, and this expat couple from Paris are taking shelter in a 4-star hotel on Sài Gòn’s most luxurious street, a love-nest for their next 44 hours. The fateful number 4 marks the 4th month of the year as the singularity it is in modern Vietnamese history, the simultaneous Liberation and Fall of Sài Gòn.
🇫🇷 Un avril bien tranquille à Saïgon, translated by Yves Bouillé. Riveneuve, 2017.
Phan Book & NXB Phụ nữ, 2019
Mina was once the narrator’s best friend in college in Soviet Russia, but they lost contact right after graduation. This collection of 30 letters written in the span of a month would never be sent to an Afghanistan deep in civil wars, but becomes instead a receptacle for her musings on a writer’s life in exile.
🇫🇷 Lettres à Mina, translated by Yves Bouillé. Riveneuve, 2020.
Phan Book & NXB Hội nhà văn, 2022
The father, a child of May ’68, returned from Paris after April ’75 to build socialism in his newly liberated fatherland, just to find his ideals and dreams shattered and himself an exile in his own country. The daughter, thirty years later, arrives in Hồ Chí Minh City after her own Parisian years, into a fight for her independence in the established totalitarian regime.
🇫🇷 Le Parc aux Roseaux, translated by Yves Bouillé. Actes Sud, 2023.
More information to follow.