Jenna Bush Hager has high praise for her July 2023 Read With Jenna pick, "Banyan Moon" by Thao Thai.
“You will not be able to put it down,” she said while announcing the book. She further raved about the book in an interview with Thai on the TODAY show. “I love this book,” she told Thai. “I’ve told you that. I’ve gushed over it.”
The novel chronicles the generational saga of three Vietnamese women as they examine their complex familial relationships. Thai cited her own family as inspiration for the story.
“I come from a line of very strong women,” she said. “They have beautiful stories and they have this will to survive and to protect their children. And so I always wanted to pay homage to their journey and how they got here from Vietnam.”
For fans who couldn’t get enough of “Banyan Moon,” Thai provided a list of book recommendations that tread similar themes of buried secrets and complex family relationships.
Like "Banyan Moon," this novel traces the intricate stories of generations of women in a Dominican- American family. As the female members of the Marte family prepare for an unusual wake, long- suppressed secrets resurface.
Set in a Vietnamese community in 1990s Australia, “All That’s Left Unsaid” focuses on one woman's quest to solve her teenage brother's murder amidst a miasma of generational trauma and racism. Kirkus Reviews described the novel, which was released in September 2022, as "a fictional tragedy evoked with such clarity and specificity that it will linger in your memory as if it really happened."
Flournoy's debut novel follows the lives of thirteen siblings who must decide what to do with their childhood home on the East Side of Detroit. The novel spans from the 1940s to 2008 as the Turner family copes with memories and the perhaps literal ghosts of the past.
Following her bestselling novel "The Mountains Sing," Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai's latest book traces family secrets from the time of the war to present-day Vietnam. Described by The New York Times as a “sweeping, decades-spanning saga," the novel’s complex cast of characters are forced to contend with the untold stories of the past.
Set in 1950s San Francisco, Sexton weaves a masterful tale about women growing up and growing apart. Musically talented sisters Ruth, Esther, and Chloe perform as jazz group “The Salvations,” managed by their ambitious mother Vivian. As their big break looms, the family’s bond threatens to shatter.
Equal parts touching and humorous, “The Fortunes of Jaded Women” chronicles the lives of the semi- estranged yet tightly connected women of the Duong family as they navigate the implications of an ancient family curse.
Set in south Australia, Morton’s seventh novel follows journalist Jess as she attempts to unravel a decades-old murder mystery. Told alternately by Jess in the present and by town locals in 1959, Morton reveals a wealth of surprises along the way.
Ocean Vuong’s second poetry collection intimately explores the aftermath of his mother’s death. Vuong is also the author of bestselling novel “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.”