Kien Nguyen biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Kien Nguyen

Kien Nguyen

How to pronounce Kien Nguyen: Key-en Nwen (pronunciations vary, Nguyen can also be closer to When)

Kien Nguyen Biography

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.



This bio was last updated on 06/26/2017. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's a tough task. So, please help us - if the information about this author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and publishers: If you wish to make changes to a bio, send the complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Interview

Kien Nguyen talks about his memories of his grandfather whose true story provides the inspiration for Nguyen's first novel.

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, I lived in my grandfather's stream of consciousness, feasting on his thoughts, feeling ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Kien Nguyen at BookBrowse
Le Colonial jacket The Tapestries jacket The Unwanted jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Kien Nguyen but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

We recommend 22 similar authors

View all 22 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Lost Apothecary
    The Lost Apothecary
    by Sarah Penner
    Sarah Penner's debut novel The Lost Apothecary was rated 4 or 5 stars by 22 of our 23 First ...
  • Book Jacket: The Spymaster of Baghdad
    The Spymaster of Baghdad
    by Margaret Coker
    For the last 17 years, the country of Iraq has known almost constant violence and political upheaval...
  • Book Jacket: Hades, Argentina
    Hades, Argentina
    by Daniel Loedel
    Daniel Loedel's debut novel, Hades, Argentina, opens in 1986 when we meet Tomás Orillo, a young...
  • Book Jacket: Dark Horses
    Dark Horses
    by Susan Mihalic
    Dark Horses is a shocking, heart-pounding debut; it's both a coming-of-age novel and an unflinching ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Smalltime
    by Russell Shorto

    Family secrets emerge as a best-selling author dives into the history of the mob in small-town America.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Apothecary
    by Sarah Penner

    A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Narrowboat Summer
by Anne Youngson
From the author of Meet Me at the Museum, a charming novel of second chances.
Win This Book!
Win Band of Sisters

Band of Sisters
by Lauren Willig

"A crackling portrayal of everyday American heroines…A triumph."
— Fiona Davis

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W T's Life T's H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.