Viet Thanh Nguyen and the Refugee’s Narrative

April 22, 2019 | 1 book mentioned

There is no single refugee story, and as the editor of The Displaced, a collection of refugee writers exploring and reflecting on their experiences, Viet Thanh Nguyen gives these stories room to breath and unfurl. In an interview with Piper French for Asymptope, Nguyen discusses the complexity of writing these narratives. “I resist the temptation of representation—of trying to turn [my mother’s] story into something for publication,” he explains. “All that is potentially very dangerous. Especially when somebody like me is telling her story—speaking for her. So how do we get around that? For me, part of the key is to transform the story of an individual like my mother or any other refugee into a larger story about the history that produces refugees. My mother’s story is interesting beyond its own personal relationship to me, for what it has to say about how millions of people were drafted into histories that they did not want.”

Image credit: Fourandsixty

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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