Daughters of the New Year

Harlequin Audio. Oct. 2022. 10:21 hrs. ISBN 9781488215292. $27.99. F
Tran weaves a captivating tale spanning six generations of Vietnamese women in her complex debut. Xuan Trung, who fled Vietnam for the United States in 1975, uses the Vietnamese zodiac almanac to chart the futures of her daughters, Trac, Nhi, and Trieu. Vietnamese tradition, astrology, and superstition combine as a lens through which the characters view and make sense of their world. The book examines what it means to be a woman, a mother, and a daughter, as well as how history and memory shape the core of self-identity through the ages. All the women in this novel share uncommon strength, with beauty shining through their imperfections. The story exemplifies the resilience of a people whose country has experienced cultural erasure and physical destruction over the past several decades and illuminates their continued bravery in adaptation and survival. Narrator Lulu Lam brings the already vibrant prose to life, lending Vietnamese culture, accent, and mannerisms an authentic voice.
VERDICT Lam’s nuanced narration makes Tran’s novel a must-purchase in audio format for all public libraries. Share with readers of Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s The Mountains Sing or Lan Cao’s The Lotus and the Storm.
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