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Reviews (by Author)

Reviews (by Title)

 

Author:  Andrew Lam

Title:  Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora

Publisher:  Heyday Books

Reviewer: Joe Fabel – AAA Vice President

A “PEN/BEYOND MARGINS” AWARD WINNER!

The author plunges us into an in-depth view of the mental and emotional anguish experienced by the Vietnamese who left their country immediately prior to the Communist takeover as well as those who remained, mostly involuntarily.

As “Diaspora” connotes, the individual leaves behind all: home, community, ancestors, religious practices, family contacts, a way of coping with life; in short, those important and supporting practices that make up everyday living. Yes, those lifelines which provide guidance and assurance disappear.

The telling of this most personal journey avoids any and all hyperbole or belittling. Boldly, Andrew Lam presents the opportunities found by the exile who chooses to leave as well as the demanding adjustments he must undergo if he is to succeed in his adopted country. Not only does he acquire intellectual and professional status in the United States; he travels to the cultural and intellectual centers of the world.

Lam invites us to accompany him as he returns to Vietnam to visit the people left behind. Surprisingly, he discovers that he is viewed as one who is exceptional, a person who has achieved the highest level of success. Those opportunities, he finds, do not exist in his native land.

Such a journey requires spiritual, intellectual and moral strength and determination. Through his writing, Andrew Lam displays a sureness and command each of us is called to imitate.

 


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