adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $28.00

Buy for $28.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A captivating novel about an immigrant Vietnamese family who settles in New Orleans and struggles to remain connected to one another as their lives are inextricably reshaped. This stunning debut is "vast in scale and ambition, while luscious and inviting…in its intimacy” (The New York Times Book Review).

On President Obama’s Summer 2021 Reading List
A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year
One of the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Top 10 Southern Books of the Year
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
Named one of the “Fifteen Books to Watch for” by The New York Times

When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle in to life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father.

But with time, Huong realizes she will never see her husband again. While she attempts to come to terms with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memories and imaginations. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong gets involved with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity - as individuals and as a family - threatens to tear them apart, un­til disaster strikes the city they now call home and they are suddenly forced to find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them.

©2021 Eric Nguyen (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

One of President Obama's Favorite Books of the Year

Winner of the Crook's Corner Book Prize for best debut novel set in the American South

Longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize

A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year

An Atlanta Journal Constitution Top 10 Southern Book of the Year 

A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year 

“Nguyen’s narrative strikes a very elusive balance: vast in scale and ambition, while luscious and inviting - enchanting, really - in its intimacy.” (Bryan Washington, The New York Times Book Review

“Eric Nguyen’s masterful debut novel Things We Lost to the Water is a deeply engaging, heart-rending look at a family of Vietnamese refugees struggling to survive and how the choices they make as individuals have ripple effects on each other.” (Suzanne Van Atten, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)  

"Things We Lost to the Water introduces an exquisite new voice in author Eric Nguyen; his debut novel is a luminous, balletic portrayal of an immigrant Vietnamese family in the US.... Nguyen navigates their multiple perspectives with dexterity and emotional clarity, aching but never maudlin. I loved every page." (Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed)  

What listeners say about Things We Lost to the Water

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    55
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Vietnamese immigrant experience

A worthwhile read that appears to lose its way a little bit at the end. I know that endings are a challenge for many authors so I don’t hold a shaky ending against the author. The characters seem to have an inordinate number of very lucid dreams to move the story along, Something a lot of writers seem to be relying on these days to move the story forward.

A good story, however.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator distracting

I am an avid audible fan. Love sci fi, fiction, business and self help books. While I do truly appreciate the authenticity of the Vietnamese narrator and her pronunciations of all things Vietnamese in the book, her narration didn’t ring true for me. I felt like I was watching a movie that had actors that were overacting and thus the story being told by her was distracting as opposed to exciting.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator really helped me understand the story.

I wasn't sure if I liked this book at first, but it was a good story and I kept going. I don't prefer to listen to books, but I'm glad this is how I experienced this one. The narrator clearly understood the nature of Vietnamese characters and the rhythms of speech and of the text. It's a different style for me, but I appreciated the imagery and poetic ways certain moments were depicted.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

One on the best of the year?

For me I find it hard to believe this is one of the best of the year.