In this beautiful, unsettling novel, Simon Han captures the state of being awake and yet asleep, of belonging and yet not, of waiting for the moment when the world opens up. With the turn of a crystalline sentence, he reveals how fragile we are, and what it takes to survive. An unbelievable debut.
Absolutely luminous. Han weaves the transience of suburbia between the highs and lows of a family saga, illustrating what a parent owes a child, what a child owes their parents, and what simply cannot be repaid. His novel shocks, awes, and delights.
In his beautifully written debut novel, Simon Han takes a keen look at immigration, family and love. Insightful and poignant.
"Entirely worth the investment . . . . Han's expansive sympathy and twilight lyricism make Nights When Nothing Happened a poignant study of the immigrant experience. This is an author who understands on a profound level the way past trauma interacts with the pressures of assimilation to disrupt a good night's sleep, even a life."
In intricately elegant prose, Simon Han explores the desire to belong-to a marriage, a family, a community, a country. Nights When Nothing Happened is about how we use words and silences to connect and wound, and how we make sacrifices for those we love. It broke my heart and gave me hope, all at the same time.
"A deeply affecting portrait of one family's immigrant experience - and the toll that the American Dream takes on those who chase it."
"How does a family find its footing after it leaves home for good?. . . . Rendered in a series of quick brush strokes, as if in a Raymond Carver story. . . . [and] seen from the shifting perspectives of mother, father, daughter and son-each fully, empathetically rendered. . . . this novel reminds us what it's like navigating a foreign country. . . . Much to admire."
Simon Han's suburban Dallas is every bit as haunting, and haunted, as John Cheever's Westchester County, illuminating the liminal spaces between American Dream and American nightmare. At the end of every quiet cul-de-sac lie equal parts beauty and madness.
A tender, spiky family saga about love in all its mysterious incarnations. Simon Han is a wonderfully adventurous and sensitive writer.
"[A] dazzling debut . . . . In this subtle but deeply felt story, Han elegantly takes aim at suburban racism, generational trauma, and the secrets we keep from one another in order to stay afloat."
An intimate and nuanced portrait of a family trying to find their way in a new country. With a sharp eye and a finely tuned ear, Simon Han tells a story that is by turns achingly tender and emotionally devastating. A stunning debut that will stay with me.