Thao Thai discusses her multigenerational debut novel, Banyan Moon, a Vietnamese tale that transports readers. We also discuss the best debut novels of 2023.
We are celebrating the best debut novels of 2023 (so far) with debut novelist Thao Thai, author of Banyan Moon. Set against the stunning backdrop of Vietnam and Florida, this novel will be one of your favorite reads this year.
This emotional debut novel follows three generations of Vietnamese American women grappling with the death of their matriarch, Minh. As they begin clearing out the sprawling Banyan House, they unravel long-buried secrets about themselves and each other.
In today’s interview, we discuss what elements of Thao’s personal story made their way into this multigenerational legacy story that spans decades and generations, shedding light on the unique bonds of motherhood.
Thao shares her family’s intriguing history, from surprisingly sentimental heirlooms to the Vietnamese folk tales woven into this story’s threads. We also discuss the complicated journey of writing mother-daughter relationships and what details were crucial in capturing the motherhood journey.
I’m excited to share this Thao Thai interview with you and celebrate her beautiful publishing journey.
We would also like to congratulate Thao Thai on being selected for the Read With Jenna Book Club for July 2023!
In a piece for the Today show she shared, “I had been carrying this hope (to be selected) secretly in my heart for so long. I wanted it with every fiber of my being actually. She really picks diverse books that deal with a lot of issues, of family and heritage, and her books have always spoken to me. So the thought of being on that list — I would dream about it, I would literally dream it.”
Since this was one of my favorite debuts of the year, Thao joins me in conversation about some of the best debuts published in 2023. I share some trivia about two of her favorite books and bring a couple of my favorites (so far) to round out this stack.
Take advantage of today’s bonus book list too! I’ve compiled a complete list of all the best debuts I’ve read this year. It was a fun reading assignment, and I have so many books to share with you today!
Meet Thao Thai
Thao Thai lives in Ohio with her husband and daughter. Her work has been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, WIRED, Sunday Long Read, Catapult, and other publications. She received her MFA from The Ohio State University and her MA from The University of Chicago. Banyan Moon is her first novel.
The Best Debut Novels of 2023 (So Far)
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Mentioned in this episode:
2023 MomAdvice Summer Reading Guide
MomAdvice Book Club
The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain
The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle Book Chat
Banyan Moon by Thao Thai
Tanya Ho Design
Cupcakes and Cashmere
Cup of Jo
Before and After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? by Crystal Smith Paul
Exclusive Crystal Smith Paul Interview
Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major
The Best Life Lessons From Time Travel Books (Cesca Major podcast episode)
The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer
The Best Escapist Books Set on Islands (Meg Shaffer podcast episode)
The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue
Hula by Jasmin Iolani Hakes
What Lies Behind the Postcard: Jasmin Iolani Hakes on the New Meaning of Summer Reading
Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen
Not So Pretty
Weyward by Emilia Hart
Emilia Hart: “If it doesn’t convince you as the writer, it won’t convince the reader.”
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2023 MomAdvice Summer Reading Guide
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