Sometimes it seems like the river of novels about World War II will never run dry—readers are always eager for a new angle, or even a retread of an old angle, perhaps because it was the last war in which the U.S. felt like the unquestioned good guys. And the winners.

Lately, though, there have been a number of books about the Vietnam War and the years leading up to it by both Vietnam-born and U.S.-born authors. Perhaps readers are ready to read about a more complicated conflict.

Artist and writer Marcelino Truong was born in 1957 in the Philippines, where his father was a Vietnamese diplomat; he’s also lived in Vietnam, the U.S., Britain, and France. His graphic novel, 40 Men and 12 Rifles: Indochina 1954 (translated by David Homel; Arsenal Pulp Press, 2023), follows a painter named Minh who’s conscripted by the Communists to create propaganda for their revolution, though he’d rather be painting nudes of his girlfriend. “It’s a fascinating look at a troubling and complex time,” our review said, “and Truong’s art has an appealingly clean, direct style, while his writing conveys wit and heart.”

Caroline Vu was born in Vietnam in 1959 and moved to Canada—where she works as a physician—when she was 11. Her latest novel, Catinat Boulevard (Guernica Editions, 2023), begins in Saigon during the war and then follows its characters through the aftermath. Mai and Mai Ly are teenage girls, and then women, who come from very different backgrounds, one privileged and one poor; Mai has liaisons with American soldiers and flees the fall of Saigon on a helicopter while Mai Ly works as a spy for the Viet Cong. “Dazzling and impassioned, this novel evokes history from a perspective often overlooked—that of its survivors,” said our review.

Andrew X. Pham was born in Vietnam in 1967 and fled with his family 10 years later. After writing two nonfiction books—Catfish and Mandala (1999), a memoir, and The Eaves of Heaven (2008), about his father’s life—he’s now written Twilight Territory (Norton, Jan. 23), a novel set in the 1940s and ’50s, when the Japanese invaded Vietnam to displace the French occupiers. A young woman named Le Tuyet develops a relationship with Yamazaki Takeshi, a Japanese major, and their love becomes intertwined with resistance and violence. Our starred review calls it “an engrossing story set amid a rich historical background.”

Two recent books focus on American women in Vietnam in the 1960s. In Absolution (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023), Alice McDermott introduces a group of corporate and military wives whose attempts to “help” the people they meet in Saigon are a double-edged sword. “This transporting, piercing, profound novel is McDermott’s masterpiece,” according to our starred review.

And in The Women (St. Martin’s, Feb. 6), Kristin Hannah focuses on Frances McGrath, who enlists as an Army nurse after her brother dies in the war. “Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail,” according to our review. While the secondary characters are thin and the ending predictable, this is “a dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.”

Laurie Muchnick is the fiction editor.