How would you summarize “Black-Eyed Women” from The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen?  

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“Black-Eyed Women” is a story about memory, trauma, and resilience. The narrator, who remains unnamed throughout, is a Vietnamese American woman in her late thirties who works as a ghostwriter telling other people’s survival stories. In the middle of working on a memoir with a man who lost his entire family in a plane crash, she is visited by the sopping-wet ghost of her brother, who just swam to America from Vietnam. He died many years prior, murdered while trying to protect the then thirteen-year-old narrator from being assaulted by pirates. The narrator is raped anyway, a trauma which neither she nor her parents has ever discussed.

Now living a fairly reclusive life in the United States with her mother, the narrator seeks out a conversation with Victor, the man whose family died in the plane crash, about the existence and behaviors of ghosts as she tries to reconcile her past traumas and experiences with her current visitations and conversations with her brother. As the story...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 586 words.)

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