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Kevin Nguyen Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

New Waves (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Ken Nguyen is an author and cultural critic currently working as a features editor at “The Verge.” Prior to getting his job at “The Verge,” he worked as a senior editor at “GQ.” His work has been featured in the likes of “The Millions,” “The New York Times Book Review,” “The New Republic,” “The Paris Review” and the “Atlantic.” Nguyen is very much involved in the literary scene as he has once been a panelist for the PEN Open Book Award, and is a member of the National Book Foundation Junior Committee, and the National Book Critics Circle. For his work, “Brooklyn Magazine” named him in the lust of 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture. “Publishers Weekly” also named him a Star Watch Honoree. As a cultural critic, he has written about popular media, music, and books.

Nguyen was born in Boston during the 1990s and went to the University of Puget Sound in Washington. He then moved to New York City and got his first major job with Amazon. This was his most notable stretch with any company as he grew to become the editor of the “Best Books of the Month” feature. After working for Amazon for several years, he moved to “Oyster,” where he was editorial director of the “Oyster Review” that he founded. Dubbed the “Netflix of Books,” the remarkable online literary magazine featured an impressive roster of critics and writers who wrote reviews, essays, conducted interviews and compiled book lists. Oyster hoped to create the indie bookstore personality, taste and feel in the digital space and it was so successful that it was acquired by Google Play in 2015. It was after the sale of the company to Google that Nguyen moved to “GQ” and then to “The Verge.” Aside from literary reviews and critics, he has also written and edited works on movies, TV, and gaming.

Kevin Nguyen’s debut novel “New Waves” tells a story of biting humor and penetrating observations about human nature in a fresh voice. As a writer that has been writing about social and cultural issues such as race, culture and emerging technology, he provides an insider look of the workings of the tech industry in the compelling debut. The novel can be described as a pitch-perfect exploration of friendship and social media, surveillance, and secrecy, and start-up culture and race. The novel asks the question of the complexities that lead us to form true connections and intimacy in a technology-obsessed society. The most striking thing about “New Waves” is that it is a Work Novel. Nguyen is one of the very few authors that has dared write work novels, which is quite commendable given how much of people’s lives are taken up by work. While his first love was literature and creative writing, the author has spent years working for media and tech companies and he understands the startup culture. He goes into detail portraying the tension and pressure in the startup workplace and how people navigate, thrive or are weeded out of it.

Kevin Nguyen’s new novel “New Waves” is set in New York City where technology has come to have a huge influence on human to human connections and interactions. It is an edgy and wry novel that tells the story of Margo, a brilliant programmer and the only black employee at a startup who is friends with Lucas, one of many Asians in the company that works as a lowly customer service representative. Margo and Lucas are tired of their current situation though there is not much they can do about it. Margo is often referred to as the only black employee though he is a brilliant programmer. Meanwhile, Lucas is almost invisible given that there are several Asians working the same job of customer service rep. Most of the time they find themselves the only nonwhite persons in a room and they slowly become friends and spend most of their evenings drinking at the local bar. They soon come up with a plan to get back at the company by hacking into the database and stealing important documentation. The heist takes a different direction when Margo dies in a tragic accident and Lucas gets more interested in her as a person. Going through her house and desk drawers, she learns that she had been speaking to a friend online and he wants to meet her to compare notes. The woman’s name is Jill and while the two share their grief and compare notes, they discover they had known and loved her in different ways. The more they mourn together, the more they realize that they may not have known the real Margo. However, at the core of the novel is the theme of grief and friendship.

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