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The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh

Contemporary fiction

The Fortunes of Jaded Women

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Carolyn Huynh, on your first book!

by Carolyn Huynh

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Quick Take

In this life-affirming novel, a surprising prophecy upends a family curse that has plagued generations of Viet women.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Multiple_Viewpoints

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Inspirational

    Inspirational

  • Illustrated icon, Family_Drama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Immigration

    Immigration

Synopsis

Everyone in Orange County’s Little Saigon knew that the Dương sisters were cursed.

It started with their ancestor Oanh who dared to leave her marriage for true love—so a fearsome Vietnamese witch cursed Oanh and her descendants so that they would never find love or happiness, and the Dương women would give birth to daughters, never sons.​

Oanh’s current descendant Mai Nguyễn knows this curse well. She’s divorced, and after an explosive disagreement a decade ago, she’s estranged from her younger sisters, Minh Phạm (the middle and the mediator) and Khuyến Lâm (the youngest who swears she just runs humble coffee shops and nail salons, not Little Saigon’s underground). Though Mai’s three adult daughters, Priscilla, Thủy, and Thảo, are successful in their careers (one of them is John Cho’s dermatologist!), the same can’t be said for their love lives. Mai is convinced they might drive her to an early grave.

Desperate for guidance, she consults Auntie Hứa, her trusted psychic in Hawaii, who delivers an unexpected prediction: this year, her family will witness a marriage, a funeral, and the birth of a son. This prophecy will reunite estranged mothers, daughters, aunts, and cousins—for better or for worse.

Why I love it

Haven’t we all felt cursed?

I mean doomed doomed like we need Henry Louis Gates Jr. and his gaggle of genealogists to figure out why, pour quoi especially me? We sit on floors of friends’ apartments like campsites for Trader Joe’s wine, the deepest-dish pizza, and cat Tarot cards. And let’s face it—it’s a good time to be a witch.

We are not alone. And it’s not just aliens that I’m referring to but our very own moms. And their moms. And our sisters. And all the people with moms. The bard of boba, Carolyn Huynh has given us an intergenerational gift in The Fortunes of Jaded Women. In this laugh-out-loud millennial meet-cute comedy of errors full of superstitiously heavy handbags and delightful pettiness, the characters are so funny and familiar you might feel a little embarrassed for and a little more in love with yourself and the brazen ridiculous women in your life. This book is also an endearing homage to the bad-assness of immigrants and refugees, the rambunctious yet nourishing communities (and broths) we create wherever we go.

There’s real healing in this book for even the most cursed. The Fortunes of Jaded Women is a reminder that it’s not only trauma we inherit, but laughter, intimacy, and a scientific approach to choosing the best table at dim sum. Thank you, ancestors.

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Contemporary fiction
View all
The Last Love Note
Anita de Monte Laughs Last
The Leftover Woman
The Same Bright Stars
Interesting Facts about Space
The Villain Edit
Bye, Baby
Swan Song
How to Read a Book
The Connellys of County Down
Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life
A Summer Affair
Adelaide
The Collected Regrets of Clover
Evil Eye
Maame
Advika and the Hollywood Wives
Once There Were Wolves
We Are the Brennans
Olga Dies Dreaming
If Only I Could Tell You
How Lucky
My Dark Vanessa
Nine Perfect Strangers
Honey Girl
One Italian Summer
Eight Hundred Grapes
The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes
The Five-Star Weekend
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
The Nest
Rich and Pretty
Britt-Marie Was Here
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
Startup
The Identicals
The Dinner List
Goodbye, Paris
Winter in Paradise
A Woman Is No Man
Queenie
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Beyond the Point
What Happens in Paradise
Nothing to See Here
When We Were Vikings
Anxious People
A Good Neighborhood
Big Summer
The Last Story of Mina Lee
Troubles in Paradise
White Ivy
This Close to Okay
The Removed
The Kindest Lie
Good Company
Impostor Syndrome
The Other Black Girl
Apples Never Fall
A Quiet Life
We Are the Light
The Fortunes of Jaded Women
When We Were Bright and Beautiful
The Hotel Nantucket