The Tapestries by Kien Nguyen

The Tapestries

Kien Nguyen

I was carried away by this story of grand passions in early 20th century Vietnam, and was hooked on the story. It is a very visual book. As I read I could imagine the big set pieces (the court scenes or the violent confrontations) being acted out in the film. Sometimes it's fun to read something so different.


On a small bench near the magistrate's chair, next to an oil lamp, a copper urn was burning. Through the cracks of its covering, Dan saw strings of incense cloud wafting out, carrying the aroma of sandalwood. The old man's hands, misshapen with arthritis, cut through the sultry darkness, crushing the smoke into particles of dust. Those hands had once held a scimitar ... the ghost of its blade still seemed to glint in his vacant eyes. Dan remembered the green mound of grass beneath his father's feet and the way it had turned red when the blood poured. He thought of his mother standing by the window of the brothel, selling her body to strangers. He thought of Ven and her silence. Could he ... would he ... be the instrument of vengeance for these lost souls and for his own?

  • Red Sorghum by Mo Yan
  • Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
  • The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh

Books with similar mood

Villa America

Liza Klaussmann

Lyrics Alley

Leila Aboulela

Critical Injuries

Joan Barfoot

The Paris Wife

Paula McLain


Gillian Philip

Lying Awake

Mark Salzman

The Long Afternoon

Giles Waterfield

The Chapel at the Edge of the World

Kirsten McKenzie


G P Taylor

The Bookman's Tale

Charlie Lovett

You Came Back

Christopher Coake

The Scents of Marie-Claire

Habib Selmi

The Brainfever Bird

Allan Sealy

Wide Eyed

Ruaridh Nicoll

The Colour of Water

Angela Green


Kirsty Gunn

The Binding Chair

Kathryn Harrison

Ship Fever

Andrea Barrett

The Best People in the World

Justin Tussing

An Equal Stillness

Francesca Kay

The Cypriot

Andreas Koumi

Big Cherry Holler

Adriana Trigiani

Hotel of the Saints

Ursula Hegi

Find Me

André Aciman

The Mysteries of Glass

Sue Gee

Lord of Emperors

Guy Gavriel Kay

The Water's Edge

Louise Tondeur

Among Others

Jo Walton

The Solitude of Thomas Cave

Georgina Harding

Old Filth

Jane Gardam

The Probable Future

Alice Hoffman

22 Britannia Road

Amanda Hodgkinson

Califia's Daughters

Leigh Richards


Kate Mosse

The Druid King

Norman Spinrad

The Cryptographer

Tobias Hill

The Collector of Lost Things

Jeremy Page

Smoke Portrait

Trilby Kent

A Moth at the Glass

Mogue Doyle


Lesley Lokko

The Rose Grower

Michelle de Kretser

Dance Real Slow

Michael Grant Jaffe


David Szalay

The Bull is Not Killed

Sarah Dearing

The Mirror

Lynne Freed

The Blood of Flowers

Anita Amirrezvani

The Ruby in her Navel

Barry Unsworth

Where the Love God Hangs Out

Amy Bloom


Madeline Miller