The Fortunes of Jaded Women
The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Multicultural Interests, Women's Fiction
No. of Pages: 271
Date of US Publication: 6 September, 2022
My Rating: 5 Stars
I couldn’t stop reading this utterly engrossing debut novel. The prose was immersive and the characters were so real and I just wanted to find out what would happen next. I loved the characters and reading about this family made me laugh and cry and rejoice in the reading of each page.
I am a mother of daughters and constantly worrying about how I’m messing up just like my mother did - and this book was just what I needed at this juncture of my life - racing up to an empty nest, each year going by more quickly than the one prior.
This is one of the absolute best books I’ve read this year. Absolutely recommended.
eARC kindly provided by Atria Books and NetGalley. Opinions shared are my own.
For fans of Jonathan Tropper, KJ Dell’Antonia, and Kevin Kwan, this “sharp, smart, and gloriously extra” (Nancy Jooyoun Kim, The Last Story of Mina Lee) debut follows a family of estranged Vietnamese women—cursed to never know love or happiness—as they reunite when a psychic makes a startling prediction.
Everyone in Orange County’s Little Saigon knew that the Duong sisters were cursed.
It started with their ancestor, Oanh, who dared to leave her marriage for true love—so a fearsome Vietnamese witch cursed Oanh and her descendants so that they would never find love or happiness, and the Duong women would give birth to daughters, never sons.
Oanh’s current descendant Mai Nguyen knows this curse well. She’s divorced, and after an explosive disagreement a decade ago, she’s estranged from her younger sisters, Minh Pham (the middle and the mediator) and Khuyen Lam (the youngest who swears she just runs humble coffee shops and nail salons, not Little Saigon’s underground). Though Mai’s three adult daughters, Priscilla, Thuy, and Thao, are successful in their careers (one of them is John Cho’s dermatologist!), the same can’t be said for their love lives. Mai is convinced they might drive her to an early grave.
Desperate for guidance, she consults Auntie Hua, her trusted psychic in Hawaii, who delivers an unexpected prediction: this year, her family will witness a marriage, a funeral, and the birth of a son. This prophecy will reunite estranged mothers, daughters, aunts, and cousins—for better or for worse.
A multi-narrative novel brimming with levity and candor, The Fortunes of Jaded Women is about mourning, meddling, celebrating, and healing together as a family. It shows how Vietnamese women emerge victorious, even if the world is against them.
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