The Frangipani Hotel

Violet Kupersmith’s voice is an exciting addition to the landscape of American fiction. With tremendous depth and range, her stories transcend their genre to make a wholly original statement about the postwar experience. Published by Spiegel & Grau.

Surgically precise and feverishly imaginative.
— Téa Obreht, author of The Tiger’s Wife
What is most haunting in Kupersmith’s nine multilayered pieces are not the specters, whose tales are revealed as stories within stories, but the lingering loss and disconnect endured by the still living. . . . [A] mature-beyond-her-years debut.
— Library Journal (starred review)
In this impressive debut, Violet Kupersmith displays a remarkable gift for voice and setting. Using history and horror, mystery and imagination, she has created this vivid collection of haunted and haunting stories. Highly recommended.
— Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Jane Austen Book Club
The stories shimmer with life. The heat and tumult of Vietnam’s cities are palpable, and the awed wonderment of humans confronted with supernatural occurrences is artfully conveyed. These polished stories mark Kupersmith, who is in her early twenties, as one to watch.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A beautiful young woman appears fully dressed in an overflowing bathtub at the Frangipani Hotel in Hanoi. A jaded teenage girl in Houston befriends an older Vietnamese gentleman she discovers naked behind a dumpster. A trucker in Saigon is asked to drive a dying young man home to his village. A plump Vietnamese-American teenager is sent to her elderly grandmother in Ho Chi Minh City to lose weight, only to be lured out of the house by the wafting aroma of freshly baked bread. In these evocative and always surprising stories, the supernatural coexists with the mundane lives of characters who struggle against the burdens of the past.
 
Based on traditional Vietnamese folk tales told to Kupersmith by her grandmother, these fantastical, chilling, and thoroughly contemporary stories are a boldly original exploration of Vietnamese culture, addressing both the immigrant experience and the lives of those who remained behind. Lurking in the background of them all is a larger ghost—that of the Vietnam War, whose legacy continues to haunt us.

Kupersmith is more than a powerful writer: She’s already been admitted into the secret circle of Isak Dinesen and Isaac Babel and Sylvia Townsend Warner. She’s a true storyteller, and a demon herself.
— George Dawes Green, founder of The Moth and author of The Caveman’s Valentine and Ravens