Synopses & Reviews
A thrilling work of sophisticated suspense set amid the Vietnamese underworld in Las Vegas.
"On the pure joyous level of great storytelling, is a top notch mystery...Note-perfect. Heartbreaking. Profound. is a polished dagger of a novel that will cut out your heart." Charles Bock, New York Times best-selling author of Beautiful Children
"A haunting, beautifully written novel, almost more ghost story than thriller, as Tran explores the world of refugees, immigrants, and the long hold the past and its dead hold on the present." Tom Perrotta, New York Times best-selling author of Nine Inches and Little Children
"The suspense kept me turning the pages, but the beautiful writing and aching sense of loss remained with me long after I reached the end." Lisa Brackmann, New York Times best-selling author of Rock Paper Tiger and Dragon Day
"Is this an immigrant saga disguised as a crime novel? Or a smart thriller that just happens to be set in the Vietnamese immigrant community in Las Vegas? It's both — but what matters is that Vu Tran has written a debut novel of uncommon artistry, about a group of Vietnamese Americans and the history of love, violence, and sacrifice that binds them together and tears them apart." Tim O'Brien, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement
"Vu Tran's spellbinding debut novel had me turning pages late into the night. I was drawn in partly by the book's utterly engrossing plot, partly by its vivid portrayal of a pitiless and dangerous Las Vegas, but mostly by its lovingly interwoven themes of loss, longing, renewal, and cultural memory." Buzzfeed
"Vu Tran's Dragonfish is that rare hybrid marvel — a literary thriller, a narrative of migration and loss that upends the conventions of any form. Tran draws the reader into an exquisitely rendered world of violence and heartbreak, loss and love that is impossible to forget." Dinaw Mengestu, author of The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears and How to Read the Air
"Sometimes it's creepy, like a really fine noir novel. Other times it's heartbreaking...absolutely gripping. Vu Tran has written a terrific novel." Tom Bissell, author of The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam
"Thoughtfully contemplates cultural identity in the aftermath of the Vietnam War." Jarry Lee
Robert, an Oakland cop, still can't let go of Suzy, the enigmatic Vietnamese wife who left him two years ago. Now she's disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who's blackmailing Robert into finding her for him. As he pursues her through the sleek and seamy gambling dens of Las Vegas, shadowed by Sonny's sadistic son, "Junior," and assisted by unexpected and reluctant allies, Robert learns more about his ex-wife than he ever did during their marriage. He finds himself chasing the ghosts of her past, one that reaches back to a refugee camp in Malaysia after the fall of Saigon, as his investigation soon uncovers the existence of an elusive packet of her secret letters to someone she left behind long ago. Although Robert starts illuminating the dark corners of Suzy s life, the legacy of her sins threatens to immolate them all.
Vu Tran has written a thrilling and cinematic work of sophisticated suspense and haunting lyricism, set in motion by characters who can neither trust each other nor trust themselves. This remarkable debut is a noir page-turner resonant with the lasting reverberations of lives lost and lives remade a generation ago.
About the Author
Vu Tran, winner of a Whiting Award recognizing "exceptional talent and promise," teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago.