Title: The Gangster We Are All Looking For
Author: Le Thi Diem Thuy
Genre: Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 176
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.