Eric Nguyen Learns to Live with History

May 17, 2021

At the Chicago Review of Books, Eric Nguyen discusses his new novel, Things We Lost to the Water, and how Vietnamese American literature processes the ongoing influence of colonialism, as seen in two of the book’s characters, Công and Ben. “Công’s narrative is parallel with Ben’s, who doesn’t exactly embrace communism, but he falls in love with a communist and falls into a gang of so-called communists,” Nguyen explains. “[Those] ironies of history are what I was trying to get at. I’m interested in how history haunts us, but we can take that haunting and make it our own. One can’t change history, but one learns to live with it.”

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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