The Fortunes of Jaded Women Summary and Reviews

The Fortunes of Jaded Women

A Novel

by Carolyn Huynh

The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh X
The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh
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Book Summary

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Each woman is joyfully rendered and fully developed, offering a welcome contrast to cliched depictions of meek and docile Asian women...The Fortunes of Jaded Women will certainly appeal to fans of over-the-top excess à la Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians, but also readers who love rich explorations of thorny mother-daughter relationships and the ways we weather." - BookPage (starred review)

"Written with crackling humor and a shrewd, intimate understanding of Vietnamese American family life, the book is full of tart, broad comedy and farcical setups. But first-time novelist Huynh also uses her gift for humor as a tool to tell a unique story about exile and assimilation...A funny, sharp, and insightful look at family bonds and the effects of tradition on modern life." - Kirkus Reviews

"Huynh debuts with an engaging if overwrought saga of a Vietnamese family curse in Orange County's Little Saigon...Huynh pulls off an admirable portrait of well-meaning mothers and their children. Despite the bumps, it's worth checking out." - Publishers Weekly

"You can always count me in for a story about generations of cursed women, but I was surprised—and thoroughly delighted—to discover how much I would laugh out loud at the exploits of these mothers, daughters, and sisters. Carolyn Huynh's The Fortunes of Jaded Women is a terrific debut. I'm eager to read more from her." - Lisa See

"Sharp, smart, and gloriously extra, The Fortunes of Jaded Women pays homage to the counterfeit-Louis-Vuitton queens of the Vietnamese diaspora and West Coast witches everywhere. I laughed out loud at the familiar stubbornness, the high- and low-stakes cutthroatedness of these complex and lovable mothers and daughters." - Nancy Jooyoun Kim, the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Story of Mina Lee

"Mixing superstition, family drama, and a cast of unforgettable characters, Carolyn Huynh works magic in her debut. The Fortunes of Jaded Women is nothing short of a modern Shakespearean comedy of errors that perfectly depicts the intricate relationship between parents and their children. I can't wait for the world to meet the Duong family!" - Eric Nguyen, author of Things We Lost to the Water

This information about The Fortunes of Jaded Women was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Carolyn Huynh

Carolyn Huynh grew up in Orange County, California, not appreciating the weather enough. She has a BA in journalism from Seattle University and an MS in human centered design from the University of Washington. The youngest daughter of Vietnamese refugees, her writing focuses on her mother's tall tales, superstitions, the diaspora, and memory (both real and imaginary). She especially loves stories about messy Asian women who never learn from their mistakes. After living up and down the West Coast, she currently resides in Los Angeles with her rabbit and dog. She still doesn't appreciate the weather enough. When she's not writing, Carolyn daydreams about having iced coffee on a rooftop in Saigon.

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