'Short Girls' reading at Big Hat 

Author Bich Minh Nguyen, who teaches at Purdue University, and whose previous book, Stealing Buddha's Dinner, won a Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2007 award, will be at Big Hat Books, 6510 Cornell Ave., Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. for a reading from her new novel, Short Girls. Publishers Weekly called Short Girls "clever and lively." Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, added, "This absorbing novel about two sisters is like a prism reflecting essential questions in a variety of subtle, sharp, glistening ways. Without sentimentality, Nguyen takes on these questions bravely and with graceful intelligence."

After nearly 30 years in the U.S., Van and Linny Luong's eccentric, invention-obsessed father decides to take the citizenship oath -- a rite of passage he hopes will improve the prospects of his most prized creation, the "Luong Arm," an instrument to help short people grasp objects that are out of reach. When Van and Linny reluctantly go home, they encounter the time warp of a childhood home unaltered since their mother's death and insulated by the same Vietnamese-American community with which they grew up. As they chart the uncertainty that has defined them, as well as the bitter irony of their romantic straits, Van and Linny discover in their common cause a new, enduring connection that sees them through the host of surprises to come.

For info on Big Hat Books: www.bighatbooks.com.

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