One story a day—or at least each time I picked up Refugees—and I finally finished the book. I was very pleasantly surprised each time I read a new story. While there was an overarching theme of the Vietnamese immigrant experience, each story was told from a different perspective. (My favorite story was actually told from the point of view of a Hispanic— if I recall correctly—immigrant.)
Viet Thanh Nguyen‘s characters were not perfect; they were realistic. I appreciated that the writer didn’t feel the need to have the audience like the characters. It’s fine; one doesn’t need to love the characters to recognize that the immigrant experience was difficult for everyone.
This book is definitely worth picking up! I have to admit though: the reason I didn’t finish Refugees sooner was that the first story was sad, and I didn’t want to read a collection of sad stories. They’re not all like that! I highly recommended reading Refugees.
Also, if you haven’t read The Sympathizer, that’s a great read, too. The first few chapters are a little hard to get through, but be patient! It was also hard to put down once the story got rolling.