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A surreal, dream-like account of an achingly sensual love affair from a queer Vietnamese American novelist and cult favorite


The Italy Letters is a slim, powerful shot of literary fantasia from one of America’s best-kept secrets. Long a cult favorite, visionary writer Vi Khi Nao weaves an unforgettable and highly distinctive story of a love affair suffused with longing, erotic passion, and heartbreak – all while painting a picture of the scabby underside of Las Vegas.


This beautiful and mesmerizing novel by a queer Vietnamese American writer is a brilliant and unclassifiable work of fiction that takes the form of a series of letters written by the unnamed narrator to her lover in Italy … part of a stream-of-consciousness narrative that is by turns poignant, bawdy, funny, and disturbing – and often beautifully poetic. 


The story touches, obliquely but powerfully, on the immigrant experience, LGBTQIA identity, social class in the academy, writing, betrayal, sex, and homesickness. The narrator is in the process of caring for her declining mother, who is both deteriorating in health but remains imperious – not perhaps an uncommon dynamic, and one that is sketched with great compassion, humor, and yes, exasperation. The result is an authentically distinctive piece of writing from an underrated American writer on the cusp.


Vulture included The Italy Letters in their Summer Reading List

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