cover image Banyan Moon

Banyan Moon

Thao Thai. Mariner, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-326710-7

Thai debuts with an accomplished story of a Vietnamese American family’s complex relationships and pressing mysteries. Ann Tran, a professional illustrator living in Michigan with her wealthy boyfriend, Noah Winthorpe, has been called home by her mother, Hư ơ ng, to the family’s Banyan House on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where her grandmother Minh has died. Ann’s life is in disarray; she’s pregnant and unsure about her relationship with Noah, who has been cheating on her. Minh had known what it was like to be a single mother facing uncertainty. She left her native Vietnam in 1973 to honor her late husband’s dying wish that she protect their children. Hương, meanwhile, who always longed for an intact family, guards Ann from the truth of why Ann grew up without her own father. Now, as inheritors of the Banyan House, the two women have a chance to repair their relationship, and they decide to live there together until Ann’s baby is born. Still, Hương worries Ann will find evidence in the house of what happened to her father. In an emotional conclusion, Thai satisfyingly settles the question of whether total honesty is necessary to sustain loving connections between mothers and daughters. There’s no shortage of multigenerational family narratives out there, and this one really stands out from the pack. Agent: Abigail Walters, CAA. (June)