Daughters of the New Year
Daughters of the New Year
Author: E.M. Tran
Page Count: 320
Published: October 11, 2022
A lively, spellbinding tale about the extraordinary women within a Vietnamese immigrant family--and the ancient zodiac legend that binds them together
What does the future hold for those born in the years of the Dragon, Tiger, and Goat?
In present day New Orleans, Xuan Trung, former beauty queen turned refugee after the Fall of Saigon, is obsessed with divining her daughters' fates through their Vietnamese zodiac signs. But Trac, Nhi and Trieu diverge completely from their immigrant parents' expectations. Successful lawyer Trac hides her sexuality from her family; Nhi competes as the only woman of color on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show; and Trieu, a budding writer, is determined to learn more about her familial and cultural past.
As the three sisters begin to encounter strange glimpses of long-buried secrets from the ancestors they never knew, the story of the Trung women unfurls to reveal the dramatic events that brought them to America. Moving backwards in time, E.M. Tran takes us into the high school classrooms of New Orleans, to Saigon beauty pageants, to twentieth century rubber plantations, traversing a century as the Trungs are both estranged and united by the ghosts of their tumultuous history.
A "haunted story of resilience and survival" (Meng Jin, Little Gods), Daughters of the New Year is an addictive, high-wire act of storytelling that illuminates an entire lineage of extraordinary women fighting to reclaim the power they've been stripped of for centuries.
[A] daring debut… The novel’s magical realism contrasts poignantly with its depiction of the too-real pressures of assimilation, which the modern Trung sisters face. In spare prose... Precise details… Tran shows us that modern resistance to assimilation is a continuation of a historical fight against imperialism.” -New York Times Book Review
“Transportive... A vivid and moving epic on the legacy of colonial brutality – and the strength of women.” -People Magazine
"Extraodinary... In unraveling the tapestry from present to past, Tran delivers an astounding family archive." –Buzzfeed
"Absorbing... As Tran moves further back in time, the women's lives become more elliptical, reminiscent of fading echoes... Tran adroitly claims [her family's] enduring stories." –Shelf Awareness
"A haunted journey through a family’s history. …The way is guided by specters of Vietnamese women… as their history becomes apparent to the reader, the daughters and even the mother remain in the dark about their ancestors’ secrets and lives, making the reader feel much more keenly how much was lost through colonization, war, racism and displacement.” –The Seattle Times
"Those of us who love multigenerational tales will appreciate how this one mixes it up a bit by going backwards in time. The different points of view throughout allow for a fully fleshed out view of the Trunk women, and the emphasis on Vietnamese food offers an almost multi-sensory experience." –Electric Literature
“Wildly imaginative, rich with humor, and unafraid to dive into the histories that are woven through the threads of our family life, E.M. Tran’s Daughters of the New Year is the kind of story of love: A novel unabashedly American as it is Vietnamese. Through Tran’s utterly unique and richly drawn characters, she is able to fully embrace the thick complication of family, diasporic community and the pain and resilience that it takes to rebuild in the wake of devastation.” –Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming
"Daughters of the New Year is engrossing and exhilarating, traversing between countries, generations, and the myriad lives in between. Tran’s prose rings throughout, weaving together laughs and chills and tears, unifying and contorting a family tied by love, debts, humor, and ghosts. With hundreds of threads in between, Daughters of the New Year is both thrilling and sobering, enthralling and awe-inspiring, and Tran has turned the question of what a family can be into a complex, heartfelt mural of possibility.” --Bryan Washington, author of Memorial and Lot
"An engrossing story of the ties among mothers, daughters, and sisters, sprinkled with humor and intrigue. Fans of the strong women protagonists of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s The Mountains Sing will likely appreciate this." -Library Journal
"Powerful." -Publishers Weekly
"Layered with magical realism, Tran’s novel is a complex meditation on history, memory, and what each generation carries... expect lots of curiosity about (and demand for) this debut.” -Booklist
“E.M. Tran writes with such a unique sense of imagination and insightful observations that have the power to bring generations together and to illuminate the complex Vietnamese history and culture. Fresh, innovative, poetic and captivating, Daughters of the New Year is a book that deserves its place on everyone’s bookshelf.” –Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, bestselling author of The Mountains Sing
“E.M. Tran confidently leads readers into the hearts of her characters, but the world she writes of is much larger than that. The legacy of colonialism, the history of women warriors, the mythology of a culture—it’s all here. Intimate yet epic, Daughters of the New Year is a remarkable debut.” –Eric Nguyen, award-winning author of Things We Lost to the Water
“Polyphonic, epic, and tender, this searching portrait of three sisters moves fearlessly back in time, unearthing legacies of colonial violence and war. A haunted story of resilience and survival.” –Meng Jin, author of Little Gods
“The Vietnamese American family that opens this novel—three daughters and their mother—are richly brought to life, but the only thing better than meeting and loving those four women was meeting their fierce women ancestors. From contemporary New Orleans to colonial Vietnam, this compelling epic shows us both the big moments that are recorded in textbooks and the quiet moments that are recorded in the human heart. E.M. Tran has crafted an original and unforgettable debut.” —Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi and author of Heating & Cooling
"This is the kind of book about existing between cultures that makes me wish I could reach back through time and hand it to my younger self. E.M. Tran has crafted a story as ferocious, brave, and big-hearted as the women within it." –Violet Kupersmith, author of Build Your House Around My Body