[pre-order things we lost to the water]
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Millions Most Anticipated Book of the Year
When Hương arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Công, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle in to life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Công, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father.
But with time, Hương realizes she will never see her husband again. While she copes with this loss, her sons, Tuấn and Bình grow up in their absent father’s shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memory and imagination. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Hương takes up with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuấn tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Bình, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity–as individuals and as a family–threatens to tear them apart. But then disaster strikes the city they now call home, and they must find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them.