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Banyan Moon by Thao Thai
Literary fiction

Banyan Moon


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Thao Thai, on your first book!

Early Release

This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait to read it.

by Thao Thai

Quick take

A dilapidated Florida mansion is more than a home in this multigenerational story of Vietnamese mothers and daughters.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MamaDrama

    Mama drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Immigration


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Infidelity



When Ann Tran gets the call that her fiercely beloved grandmother, Minh, has passed away, her life is already at a crossroads. In the years since she’s last seen Minh, Ann has built a seemingly perfect life—a beautiful lake house, a charming professor boyfriend, and invites to elegant parties that bubble over with champagne and good taste—but it all crumbles with one positive pregnancy test. With both her relationship and carefully planned future now in question, Ann returns home to Florida to face her estranged mother, Hương.

Back in Florida, Hương is simultaneously mourning her mother and resenting her for having the relationship with Ann that she never did. Then Ann and Hương learn that Minh has left them both the Banyan House, the crumbling old manor that was Ann’s childhood home, in all its strange, Gothic glory. Under the same roof for the first time in years, mother and daughter must face the simmering questions of their past and their uncertain futures, while trying to rebuild their relationship without the one person who’s always held them together.

Running parallel to this is Minh’s story, as she goes from a lovestruck teenager living in the shadow of the Vietnam War to a determined young mother immigrating to America in search of a better life for her children. And when Ann makes a shocking discovery in the Banyan House’s attic, long-buried secrets come to light as it becomes clear how decisions Minh made in her youth affected the rest of her life—and beyond.

Spanning decades and continents, from 1960s Vietnam to the wild swamplands of the Florida coast, Banyan Moon is a stunning and deeply moving story of mothers and daughters, the things we inherit, and the lives we choose to make out of that inheritance.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Banyan Moon.

Why I love it

What does inheritance mean to you? The older I get the more this word haunts me. At the end of the day, what are we really left with? My parents, who didn’t have much, passed on their stories, which I have struggled to spin into gold, to help me make sense of my own identity and belonging on this pale blue dot.

Banyan Moon valiantly engages with the chameleonic nature of inheritance and the wounds and bonds forged across generations. Thao Thai’s seasoned debut is a beautiful, sweeping, multigenerational tale about three stubborn Vietnamese and Vietnamese American women. It is a tale as old as time—but perhaps new to you—about a daughter’s (Ann) inability to communicate with her estranged Vietnamese mother (Hương). That is, until one day, Ann’s matriarchal grandmother (Minh) passes away, and mother and daughter are forced to confront the past in order to untangle the inheritance Minh has left behind.

I thank Thao Thai for writing this book. Her words have stayed with me long after I finished it. Banyan Moon gives me hope that I can redefine “inheritance” one day, if not for myself, then for the next generation. It may very well do the same for you.

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Member ratings (4,053)

  • Blake M.

    Virginia Beach, VA

    wow, wow. read quickly. loved these ladies, was curious about their choices & relationships, surprised at some circumstances, was completely drawn in. won’t soon forget it. well done! beautiful cover.

  • Aleta B.

    Summerville, SC

    I can’t believe this book was written by a first time author. I loved this book! Her words were pure art. The characters were relatable and I felt that I could feel,see,and hear all the descriptions.

  • Rhonda N.

    Grapevine, TX

    Things I loved: multi generational matriarchal story, historical including Viet Nam moving forward to Florida location. I had a mild issue with the pacing, too slow at times. Overall, worth the read.

  • Shannon T.

    King George, VA

    Wonderful! A true testament to a mother’s love and protection. A great display of the secret parts of a mother’s life that are often kept hidden safely from their children. Beautifully written.

  • Samantha A.

    West Trenton, NJ

    This is a beautiful book about the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships. It's also a conversation on the American dream and how far back our family roots can go. A great summer read!