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The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh
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The Fortunes of Jaded Women

A Novel

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Narrator Vyvy Nguyen

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Length 9 hours 28 minutes
Language English
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For fans of Jonathan Tropper, Amy Tan, and Kevin Kwan, this “sharp, smart, and gloriously extra” (Nancy Jooyoun Kim, author of The Last Story of Mina Lee) novel follows a family of estranged Vietnamese women—cursed to never know love or happiness—as they reunite when a psychic makes a startling prediction.

Everyone in Orange County’s Little Saigon knew that the Duong sisters were cursed.

It started with their ancestor, Oanh, who dared to leave her marriage for true love—so a fearsome Vietnamese witch cursed Oanh and her descendants so that they would never find love or happiness, and the Duong women would only give birth to daughters.

Oanh’s current descendant Mai Nguyen knows this curse well. She’s divorced, and after an explosive disagreement a decade ago, estranged from her younger sisters, Minh Pham (the middle and the mediator) and Khuyen Lam (the youngest who swears she just runs humble coffee shops and nail salons, not Little Saigon’s underground). Though Mai’s three adult daughters, Priscilla, Thuy, and Thao, are successful in their careers (one of them is John Cho’s dermatologist!), the same can’t be said for their love lives. Mai is convinced they might drive her to an early grave.

Desperate for guidance, she consults Auntie Hua, her trusted psychic in Hawaii, who delivers an unexpected prediction: this year, her family will witness a marriage, a funeral, and the birth of a son. This prophecy will reunite estranged mothers, daughters, aunts, and cousins—for better or for worse.

A multi-narrative novel brimming with levity and candor, “The Fortunes of Jaded Women pulls off the magic trick of being a heartfelt, multi-generational epic as well as a fast-paced, hilarious romp. It is your good fortune to have this novel in your hands” (Camille Perri, author of When Katie Met Cassidy).

Carolyn Huynh loves writing about messy Asian women who never learn from their mistakes. After living up and down the West Coast, she now resides in Los Angeles with her partner and her chaotic dog. When she’s not writing, Carolyn daydreams about having iced coffee on a rooftop in Sài Gòn. The Family Recipe is her second novel.

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Reviews

"Narrator Vyvy Nguyen offers up a lively rendition of this multigenerational saga of contemporary Vietnamese American women. Depicting a cast of more than 14 characters, Nguyen delivers a variety of personalities and voices. She engages listeners in the characters’ humorously messy lives and complicated family dynamics as they try to find a way to lift a curse placed on their family long ago." "Once upon a time in Vietnam, Oanh Duong chose love, causing her descendants—who could only be women—to be perpetually cursed. Of course, “there was nothing wrong with having Vietnamese daughters. It was how the world treated them that turned it into a curse.” Generations later, mostly in southern California, sisters, mothers, daughters, cousins are all estranged, but a powerful psychic predicts “a pregnancy, a death, a wedding,” events which might transform their mutigenerational misfortunes. Huynh’s debut—Good Morning America’s September 2022 Book Club pick—is culturally and linguistically matched with Vietnamese American actor Nguyen, who energetically ciphers a cast so vast that the print title opens with an orange (as in the fruit) family tree. While Nguyen doesn’t quite distinguish the dozen-plus characters, her spirited performance never wavers. Keeping energy up is an absolute must, since the story is full of confrontations involving food and other flying projectiles, slamming doors and dramatic exits, and imploding relationships over houses and K-dramas. The almost-at-the-end showdown, featuring a chorus of savvy half-cousins and a shocked second-date victim reporting the play-by-play (more like scream-for-scream), is a dream scene just waiting for Hollywood commitment." Expand reviews
Celebrate our 10th Anniversary with giveaways, merch, and more! Learn more