THE GANGSTER WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR (2003) Lovely and sparse, Gangster is like an impressionist painting -- pretty strokes of prose melding to create a larger whole. A nameless narrator recalls her… 2003-05-06 Fiction
Book Review

THE GANGSTER WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR (2003)

EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: May 06, 2003; Writer: le thi diem thuy; Genre: Fiction

Lovely and sparse, Gangster is like an impressionist painting -- pretty strokes of prose melding to create a larger whole. A nameless narrator recalls her '70s childhood, when she and her father journeyed by boat from war-ravaged Vietnam to San Diego. The afflictions that shape her life -- the two long years before her mother joined them in the U.S., a brother's tragic death, her father's shadowy past -- are revealed in glimpses and softened by a child's perspective. Most likely swatches from the author's own past, the novel's short, graceful passages never fully engage. We're left admiring the picture from afar.

Originally posted May 09, 2003 Published in issue #709 May 09, 2003 Order article reprints