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Dust Child

The International Bestseller

Published by Oneworld Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

'DAZZLING.' Elif Shafak, author of The Island of Missing Trees

'LYRICAL AND DEEPLY EMPATHETIC.' Gabrielle Zevin, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Four lives, entwined forever by decisions made in a time of conflict. But what happens decades later when they unexpectedly converge once more?

It is 1969, and sisters Trang and Quynh watch helplessly as their rural village is transformed by the outbreak of war. Desperate to help their impoverished parents, they head to the thronging city of Sai Gon and join the legions of women working as 'bar girls', paid to flirt with American GIs. What follows will test their sisterhood in ways they could never have foreseen.

Decades later Viet Nam is thriving, successfully emerging out of the shadow of war. But Dan and Phong, two men whose lives were transformed by their experiences on different sides of the conflict, are struggling to leave the past behind.

What happens when these four characters unexpectedly come together once more, and each is forced to grapple with the legacy of decisions made in the past – decisions that continue to reverberate through all their lives?

Dust Child is their unforgettable story.

'Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is one of the most unique storytellers of our time.' Natalie Jenner, internationally bestselling-author of The Jane Austen Society

A Best Book of the Year according to Book Riot, the Buzz Magazines, Cosmopolitan and Reader's Digest

A Most Anticipated Title according to Sydney Morning Herald, Salon, NB Magazine and SheReads

About The Author

Dr Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is an award-winning Vietnamese poet and novelist. She is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her books in Vietnamese have received the 2010 Poetry of the Year Award from the Hanoi Writers Association, the Capital’s Literature & Arts Award, and First Prize in the Poetry Competition celebrating 1,000 Years of Hanoi. Her debut novel and first book in English, The Mountains Sing, is an International Bestseller, runner-up in the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Winner of the 2020 BookBrowse Best Debut Award, Winner of the Blogger's Book Prize 2021, Winner of the 2021 International Book Awards, Winner of the 2021 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and Winner of the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship for "a work of exceptional quality" and for "contribution to peace and reconciliation". For more information, visit:

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (March 14, 2023)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861545414

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Raves and Reviews

'Powerful and deeply empathetic... A heartbreaking tale of lost ideals, human devotion, and hard-won redemption.' Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of The Sympathizer

'Beautifully crafted, haunting... A masterful display of Que Mai's capacity to evoke compassion through her lyrical prose.' Irish Times

'Dazzling. Sharply drawn and hauntingly beautiful.' Elif Shafak, Women's Prize-shortlisted author of The Island of Missing Trees

'Notable for its boundless compassion for all the characters, from young, brutalised US soldiers to the girls who pretend to love them and the dust children left behind.' The Times

'Dust Child is satisfying, lyrical, and deeply empathetic. Nguy?n Phan Qu? Mai is a born storyteller.' Gabrielle Zevin, author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

'Once again, Nguy?n Phan Qu? Mai has written a beautiful novel that shines a light on the history of Vietnam... Dust Child is simply stunning.' Eric Nguyen, author of Things We Lost to the Water

'A heartbreaking, beautifully told, utterly unique story of love, loss, and longing that speaks to the very heart of the human experience.' Kristin Harmel, New York Times-bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars

'Well-researched, realistic, and compassionately written... This eye-opening and fascinating novel is a must-read!' Le Ly Hayslip, bestselling author of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

'Nguy?n Phan Qu? Mai is one of the most unique storytellers of our time... She creates plots which are Dickensian in their breadth and mastery, while bravely probing the complex emotional challenges of living in a modern world full of disruption and displacement.' Natalie Jenner, internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society

'Nguyen's novels, suffused with kindness and understanding, are an important and accessible tool to delve deeply into the perspectives of those whose lives were changed by the conflict. Her kaleidoscopic view opens doors of empathy and humanity.' Sydney Morning Herald

'Phenomenally beautiful.' Australian Women's Weekly

'Look for a reception akin to Min Jin Lee’s bestselling Pachinko.' LA Times

'I truly cannot wait for the rest of the world to celebrate this book.' Chanel Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Know My Name

'Qu? Mai demonstrates a deep understanding of splintered lives. The compassionate treatment of her characters, insights into the period and eloquent prose are impressive.' FT

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