The Gangster We Are All Looking For is the first novel by American-Vietnamese author Le Thi Diem Thuy. It was published by Knopf in 2003. Before being published as a novel of its own, it was published in The Best American Essays of 1997.
After it was released, The Gangster We Are All Looking For was received well overall. There were good reviews about it in numerous locations, but the most prominent were in Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and Library Journal. Of these, Entertainment Weekly said: "Lovely and sparse, Gangster is like an impressionist painting-pretty strokes of prose melding to create a larger whole," and The New York Times stated: "Readers will not always find 'The Gangster We Are All Looking For' easy to follow or the narrator's viewpoint consistent, but the cumulative, almost liturgical effects of the novel is both heartbreaking and exhilarating."
The novel utilizes a fragmented style of narration, with the narrator being the author at a variety of ages ranging from 6 through 26 years old. The narrative recounts Le Thi Diem Thuy's experiences as a Vietnamese immigrant. The time and place of the story constantly back and forth from Vietnam (the narrator's homeland) to America (the narrator's destination), sometimes recounting events that take place before and after the birth and death of the narrator.