House of Sticks, by Ly Tran (Scribner)

- C.S.

A memoir that will break and warm your heart, House of Sticks is an immigrant tale of a Vietnamese family that settles in New York City in the early ’90s with little to no knowledge about life in America, let alone how to take the subway or what to wear to Coney Island. Tran’s family eked out a living, first by setting up a cummerbund-sewing operation in their Queens apartment and then, eventually, by buying a nail salon. Through her hardscrabb­le youth and her battles with a controllin­g father—for years he denies her the glasses she clearly needs—Tran doesn’t lean too heavily on what she lacks but rather reiterates the grit that got her through, recounting the delight she experience­s when her life, even with its challenges, comes into focus.—

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