How to pronounce Kien Nguyen: Key-en Nwen (pronunciations vary, Nguyen can also be closer to When)
Kien Nguyen grew up an outsider in his native land. His once wealthy family, thrust into poverty at the dawn of a new political regime, lived among neighbors who treated them as pariahs, unwelcome remnants the colonialist past. Nguyen, himself a child of mixed race (his father was American), was among the most unwanted. He left Vietnam in 1985 through the United Nations "Orderly Departure Program." After spending time at a refugee camp in the Philippines, Nguyen arrived in the United States.
Nguyen's memoir, The Unwanted, tells of his experience. He has written two other books, The Tapestries and Le Colonial. He lives in New York City.
About This Biography
This biography was last updated on 01/01/2011. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.
Kien Nguyen talks about his grandfather, the inspiration for his first novel, The Tapestries
I was six days old when my grandfather first told me his life stories. I was lying in a small bamboo cradle suspended by ropes from a high
wooden beam. From the window, the summer sky shone like an
inverted ocean, motionless except for a few distant clouds. Hummingbirds
fluttered over the garden fountain, then disappeared into
the pomegranate trees.
While the ceiling swayed he would speak to me in a melodic tone, always with the same introduction: "During the winter months, the Perfume River was chilly, especially at dawn." In my recollection, the world of my grandfather was simple, irregular, and deliberately void of anything material. No photo albums or mementos helped illustrate his tales, only his soothing voice, flowing in the river of his memory.
At times, my grandmother would join him. In the background, she would pluck the strings of her lute and sing Vietnamese folk songs. Between the two of them, my childhood was filled with wonder. I could always close my eyes and allow myself to be transported back to a time when my grandfather was a child. While in the rest of the world, children grew up with fairy tales...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books