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Short Girls (2009)

Van and Linny Luong, the children of Vietnamese immigrants, are both at a point in their lives where they are experiencing some sort of turmoil. Their mother died suddenly of a stroke nine years ago and the only other family the sisters have left is their inventor father, Dinh, who has finally decided to take his oath of American citizenship after 28 years. Van and Linny return home to share in this special moment with a celebration done the old way - with a reunion of the other Vietnamese families who used to gather in the late 70s and 80s. Linny's affair with a married man has ended in humiliating fashion, while Van's husband, Miles, has left her. Van remembers the day Miles used her father's invention, the Luong Arm, to grab a vase from the top of the refrigerator and watched it crash to the floor because all his inventions, designed to improve the lives of short people, were never reliable. He had given her the Luong Arm, saying, "Short girls need to take care of themselves". Throughout the book you experience the relationships of Van, Linny and Dinh, among other excellently crafted characters - and how their lives are all so different yet so similar. Nguyen paints an excellent portrait of the immigrant community and the lives of the Luong family as a whole. (AS)

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