• The Fortunes of Jaded Women

  • A Novel
  • By: Carolyn Huynh
  • Narrated by: Vyvy Nguyen
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (115 ratings)

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The Fortunes of Jaded Women

By: Carolyn Huynh
Narrated by: Vyvy Nguyen
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Publisher's 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.

©2022 Carolyn Kim Huynh. All rights reserved. (P)2022 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Fortunes of Jaded Women

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story!

Such a great story about family history, drama, and even some gems about Vietnamese culture. I highly recommend this as a fun listen on a road trip or while doing some spring cleaning, basically put it on during anything boring/mindless bc you’ll be swept up in the story. The only thing missing from the audiobook is the family tree- but I had started by reading a physical copy of it before switching to audible so I could reference it when I mixed up the sisters, and mothers, and daughters, and grandmothers…so many women! (You’ll get that after you finish it)

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interesting story

very enjoyable listening to the story about Asian women, their culture and the differences they endured.

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I missed the "Joke"

I come from a long line of daughters of daughters. however I am not of Vietnamese decent. much of this book did not resonate with me. the author kept introducing more and more characters. even at the end i could not figure out who belonged to whom.

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Generational Story of Family Struggle

loved this story. It was a story of an Asian American family struggling to make it as a family. No matter the nationality I think all families can relate to these struggles, especially mother daughter relationships and sibling/cousin relationships.

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I enjoyed this story

This is a good read. It tells the story of a Vietnamese family of women who believe that their lineage has been cursed by a ex mother in law. I found myself routing for this family to come as one.

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fun story

In an interview with Good Morning America Author Carolyn Huynh said, “If you love stories about messy women who never learn from their mistakes, this book has a cast of over 14 Vietnamese women who are all trying to find themselves while trying to navigate complicated family dynamics, and their love lives are even messier.” I was intrigued. Furthermore, I am not familiar with the Vietnamese culture in our modern-day world. I do enjoy learning about things while I read.

The story follows the Doung sisters, their daughters and their ancestors. The women have a curse placed upon them by a vengeful mother-in-law. When Oanh left a loveless marriage to find true love, her mother-in-law placed a curse upon her decedents that they will never find love of happiness and they will give birth to only daughters, never sons.

Now, Oanh’s four great-granddaughters do not speak to each other and their daughters, the great-great-granddaughters of Oanh do their best to not be anything like their mothers. The women will do about anything to keep away from their mothers. When one of the elder women seeks a psychic’s help, the prediction brings the women together.

This sort of reminded me of “Crazy Rich Asians” in that we get a glimpse into the current culture of the intergenerational families. I loved the gossip, the trips to the psychic, questions of who’s psychic is the best, and of course match making. No one is filthy rich here, it’s the intergenerational differences that make this funny. The squabbles, the jealousy, the scandals keep you chuckling. If you previously believed Asian women were meek and mild, your head will spin with this one.

What I enjoyed in this one is how Huynh shows the differences in modern American life with the traditional Vietnamese generations. She also delves into racism, specifically addressed to Vietnamese women. But most importantly, she illuminates the difficulties of the new generation to appreciate ancient traditions and continuing cultural ideals.

I chose to listen to the audio, narrated by Vyvy Nguyen. At times the audio was difficult for me in that she read it authentically. The tone seems harsh to me, but I understand that this is NOT harsh for Vietnamese. If you get the audio, which was done very well, be prepared for a bit of a strident tone as it can be a bit abrupt to a non-native speaker.

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Great story, could have been gayer tho

You're telling me not one of the ladies in this multigenerational family wasn't queer? Would have loved that viewpoint but other than that, I really enjoyed the story. Laughed, cried, hope it gets made into a movie!

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Fun Book about Vietnamese American women; great reader

Been a big fan of VyVy Nguyen’s reading but this one was impressive because it was ambitious. Nguyen has to tackle 14 characters with accents that cover at least 4-5 different countries. But she manages to carry a distinct voice for each of the characters that make it both a fun and emotional read. A big bonus that VyVy speak Vietnamese so I certainly felt at home when she had had to utilize Vietnamese words and phrases.

The book itself was amazing. Even though it does tackle some heavy topics, Fortunes is funny and heartfelt. It’s a wonderful touching portrayal of Vietnamese American women that I have not seen before and maybe a little too close to home, haha. Overall an amazing book and an amazing reading.