Book Review: The Gangster We Are All Looking For by Le Thi Diem Thuy

Amazon.com: The Gangster We Are All Looking For (0884681676668): Le, Thi  Diem Thuy: Books

Title: The Gangster We Are All Looking For

Author: Le Thi Diem Thuy

Genre: Literary Fiction

Number of Pages: 176

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes


I almost gave this book four stars on Goodreads but then I ended up taking it down to three. The Gangster We Are All Looking For tells the story of a girl who’s an immigrant from Vietnam and her dysfunctional family. The protagonist doesn’t have a name and we don’t get a clear idea of how old she is throughout a lot of the book, which I found frustrating.

Some of the writing is really beautiful and the author evokes strong imagery throughout, with prose that feels almost like poetry at times. However, the writing style had a distanced and impersonal feeling I wasn’t a fan of. It felt like it was trying to emotionally hold the reader at arm’s length, and I didn’t get a good sense of who the characters were and what made them tick.

I assumed the character of the father had some kind of mental illness but his bizarre shifts in behavior were never examined or truly explained. I’m glad I read this book because of the beautiful writing but I didn’t like how hard it was to connect to the story and characters.

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