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News + Interviews


 

Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, “Writers on the Fly: Vu Tran,” April 20, 2017

“At some point, you have to trust in your own process. And there is an element of spirituality there…”

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The New York Times, “25 Great Books by Refugees in America,” January 30, 2017

“Tran’s novel, his first, does not engage in any nostalgia about the lost home. That place carries only memories of trauma and war. He forces his characters, including a Vietnamese woman in California who mysteriously disappears, to grapple with that past. It’s the only way to get anywhere near embracing their new American realities.”

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The New York Times, “Paperback Row,” December 9, 2016

“A troubled Vietnamese refugee in Oakland suddenly leaves behind her husband and reappears in Nevada; as he searches for his wife, he is dragged through both Las Vegas’s ugly underbelly and the horrors of her past. Our reviewer, Chris Abani, called Tran’s novel “a renegotiation of terms in which the past is not a place of nostalgia but one that carries all the trauma of war, and the present is not enough to mitigate that.””

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The History of Literature, “Great First Chapters (with Vu Tran),” January 1, 2017

“Vu Tran, author of the novel Dragonfish and a professor of creative writing at the University of Chicago, joins us to discuss ten great first chapters – how they work, how they affect the reader, and how they fulfill their author’s intentions.”

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Book Riot, “100 Must-Read Works of Noir,” November 9, 2016

“It’s Noirvember, which is typically celebrated by watching film noir (something I enjoy a great deal!), but I thought I’d mix it up a little by making a list of must-read noir.”

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The History of Literature, “In the Mood for a Good Book – Wharton, Murakami, Chandler, and Fowles (with Vu Tran),” September 30, 2016

“In this episode, Vu and Jacke discuss what makes these works so compelling, how the works helped Vu write his novel, and how a certain American city produces an intense feeling of endless hope and melancholy, twenty-four hours a day.”

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Literary Hub, “The Uncertain Memories of a Four-Year-Old Refugee,” August 12, 2016

“When I tell someone about my refugee experience, a story I’ve told countless times, I’m always aware that I have no real memory of it…”

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NewCity Lit, “Lit 50 2016: Who Really Books in Chicago,” May 26, 2016

“I’ve only just started a new novel, and there are still too many things to work out for me to describe it with any certainty or confidence; but it’s what I would call a Vietnamese gothic novel, inspired by my rereading of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ and John Fowles’ ‘The Magus.’”

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Sampsonia Way Magazine, “The Writer’s Block: A Q&A with Vu Tran,” March 7, 2016

“I think too often, in the creative writing world, there’s too much advice. Just sit down and write and read a lot. That’s about all you can really say.”

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San Francisco Chronicle, “Best of 2015: 100 Recommended Books,” December 15, 2015

“In Tran’s debut thriller, a richly satisfying work of pure noir, a 20-year veteran of the Oakland police force goes to Las Vegas in search of his missing Vietnamese wife.”

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The New York Times, “100 Notable Books of 2015,” November 27, 2015

“In Tran’s elegant and entertaining novel, a cop searches for his ex-wife, a ­haunted Vietnamese immigrant, in the sleazy ­underbelly of Las Vegas.”

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The Book Club @ 91.7, WVXU in Cincinnati, “An Interview with Vu Tran,” October 23, 2015

“The noir genre plays with the ambiguities that live in shadows… and that ambiguity is particularly true of immigrants.”

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Electric Literature, “A Convincing and Compelling World: An Interview with Vu Tran,” October 8, 2015

“I don’t really care if my Vietnamese characters are “bad” or “immoral”. I only care about whether they’re believable and interesting.”

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Literary Hub, “The Immigrant Story As Noir,” September 10, 2015

“Once a book is done and out in the world, it has life because of the reader. That’s what makes literature as an art beautiful”

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KNPR: Nevada Public Radio, “Author Vu Tran Talks Living and Writing in Las Vegas,” September 8, 2015

“I think my seven years here [in Vegas] I matured as a person and I think along with that I matured as a writer not only developing the right style and coming up with interesting things to say, but also hopefully becoming a better human being.”

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Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Vietnamese Culture Inspires Refugee, First-time Author,” August 29, 2015

“Like he and his mother, characters in the book escaped Vietnam by boat and settled in a refugee camp before coming to America. Though it’s not his story, it is an experience that reflects deep connections.”

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Kirkus, “Nine Gripping Debuts,” August 24, 2015

“A missing person mystery is delicately entwined with a heartbreaking story of migration and loss.”

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IndieBound, “Indie Next List,” August 2015

“Tran has written a highly original noir mystery involving Suzy, a Vietnamese immigrant, and her police officer ex-husband, Robert. Suzy goes missing in Las Vegas and her current husband, Sonny, enlists Robert’s help to track her down. During his search for Suzy, Robert discovers a packet of letters written by her to Mai, Suzy’s long-lost daughter, who is now a professional gambler living in Las Vegas. Suspenseful, cinematic, and haunting, Tran’s storytelling is superb, and Dragonfish is an excellent debut.”

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Vegas Seven, “Dragonfish Takes Readers Down These Mean Desert Streets,” August 19, 2015

“When I turned the short story into what is now Dragonfish, I found that the genre boundaries kind of slipped away.”

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New York Times Sunday Book Review, “Inside the New York Times Book Review podcast,” August 16, 2015

“I thought it was interesting, the reasons why people do not want to share certain stories.”

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New York Times Sunday Book Review, “Open Book: “Reaching Back,” August 13, 2015

““Vietnam has always embodied a kind of alternate life in my imagination.”

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Late Night Library, “Late Night Debut Podcast,” August 13, 2015

“I thought it would be interesting to have a crime narrative where the hero doesn’t have a lot of agency, cannot really rescue anyone, and ends up not being as important in the story as he wants to be.”

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Bloom, “Q&A with Vu Tran,” August 5, 2015

“From Oakland to Las Vegas, from Vietnam to Malaysia, Tran creates a world of contrasts and challenges, of rebirths and loss, of resonance and disconnections. ”

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Shelf-Awareness, “Vu Tran: Diaspora and Identity,” August 4, 2015

“Vietnam exists only in memory for these characters, and in that sense, its primary role in Dragonfish is as an animating and also debilitating shadow of who they are or believe they are. ”

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Largehearted Boy, “Book Notes for Dragonfish,” August 3, 2015

“All the songs on this list, even if you don’t listen to the lyrics, evoke this feeling of loss and melancholy. Many are simply some of my favorite songs from the last five years.”

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Speaking of Mysteries Podcast, “Interview with Nancie Clare,” August 3, 2015

“Set in Las Vegas, the highly atmospheric, deeply noir Dragonfish… takes its name from the Asian arowana, an endangered fish that’s supposed to bring good luck and keep evil away. But in the story of the intertwining lives of Robert, the Oakland cop, Suzy, his Vietnamese wife and Sonny, the Vietnamese gangster who is Suzy’s second husband, the promise of the fish’s power fails to fulfill either goal.”

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NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, “Interview with Scott Simon: An Immigrant’s Experience, Recast as Noir in Dragonfish,” August 1, 2015

“”I thought it would be fun to indulge in [the sexiness of noir fiction], and I found myself, in telling a story about immigrants, that a noir or crime framework allowed me to say a lot of other things.””

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Publisher’s Weekly, “PW Picks: Books of the Week,” July 31, 2015

“His search transpires in a wonderfully noirish Las Vegas, including second-tier casinos and strip-mall restaurants concealing underground aquariums stocked with illegal and exotic creatures—the titular dragonfish among them.”

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BBC Culture, “Ten Books to Read in August,” July 31, 2015

“Tran’s flashbacks to the Malaysian refugee camp where Hong, Sonny and Junior first met, and Hong’s journal, bring a haunting tragic dimension to this fast-moving Las Vegas crime thriller.”

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Desert Companion, “Summer Reading: Dragonfish Excerpt,” June 29, 2015

“I have brought you here to tell you a story…”

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Chicago Tribune, “Me, My Shelf, and I: Vu Tran,” June 25, 2015

“I went from wanting to be William Faulkner to aping Marquez…”

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Kirkus, “This Summer’s Hottest Must-Read Novels,” June 2, 2015

“A missing person mystery is delicately entwined with a heartbreaking story of migration and loss.”

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Buzzfeed, “17 Awesome Books You Need to Read This Summer,” May 27, 2015

“Heartbreaking and haunting, Dragonfish speaks to the ghosts that bind us in the present, and the ways in which history both shapes and obligates us in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.”

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Buzzfeed, “32 Essential Asian-American Writers You Need to Be Reading,” May 7, 2015

“Vu Tran’s work thoughtfully contemplates cultural identity in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and the ways in which historical trauma both shapes and obligates us.”

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diaCRITICS, “Interview with Vu Tran,” Jan 2, 2012

“If you are going to let a writing program ruin you, then maybe you should find something else to do, because yeah, it’s personal, it’s very emotional. All writers are sensitive and you take everything personally, even if it’s not intended to be personal, but you need to learn from that. You need to either learn to accept that criticism or to reject it, not to be hurt or buried by it.”

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Nevada Public Radio, “KNPR’s State of Nevada: Interview with Vu Tran,” May 3, 2010

“Cop drives into Vegas, hunting down his ex-wife, who’s now married to a Vietnamese crime boss. New movie? Nope, it’s the plot for Vu Tran’s novel.”

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