Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora

( 2 )

Overview

Cultural Writing. Asian American Studies. In his long-overdue first collection of essays, noted journalist and NPR commentator Andrew Lam explores his life-long struggle for identity as a Viet Kieu, or a Vietnamese national living abroad. At age eleven, Lam, the son of a South Vietnamese general, came to California on the eve of the fall of Saigon to communist forces. He traded his Vietnamese name for a more American one and immersed himself in the allure of the American Dream: something not clearly defined for ...

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Overview

Cultural Writing. Asian American Studies. In his long-overdue first collection of essays, noted journalist and NPR commentator Andrew Lam explores his life-long struggle for identity as a Viet Kieu, or a Vietnamese national living abroad. At age eleven, Lam, the son of a South Vietnamese general, came to California on the eve of the fall of Saigon to communist forces. He traded his Vietnamese name for a more American one and immersed himself in the allure of the American Dream: something not clearly defined for him or his family. Reflecting on the meanings of the Vietnam War to the Vietnamese people themselves—particularly to those in exile—Lam picks with searing honesty at the roots of his doubleness and his parents' longing for a homeland that no longer exists.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this powerful collection of essays, Lam, a syndicated columnist and National Public Radio commentator, explores his identity as a Viet Kieu (a Vietnamese national living abroad) residing in the United States. On April 28, 1975, 11-year-old Lam and his family fled Saigon aboard a crowded C130 cargo plane just two days before the fall of Saigon to Communist forces (a day Lam would come to know as an "American rebirth"). His father, a respected South Vietnamese general, followed soon after, reuniting with the family in California, where they would begin at the bottom rung as they struggled to fulfill the American Dream. Looking deep within himself and his fellow Viet Kieu, Lam seeks to "marry two otherwise dissimilar and often conflicting narratives." He cites cultural critic Edward Said as he shows that to transcend one's national limits one must not reject attachments to the past but work through them. Lam, who grows to realize that home is "portable if one is in commune with one's soul," embraces the journey of self-discovery and concludes that one's identity is not fixed but "open-ended." What results is a cohesive presentation with broad appeal, allowing non-Viet Kieu to understand Lam's experiences. Recommended for most libraries.-Patti C. McCall, Albany, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597140201
  • Publisher: Heyday Books
  • Publication date: 9/15/2005
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 143
  • Sales rank: 785,631
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Boat People not forgotten

    Perfume Dreams is a must read book for all Vietnamese Americans. Andrew is a gifted writer, a gate keeper, & history teller for Vietnamese American who are living in America. He has never lost his touch with his root.

    The Perfume Dreams touches all sides of experiences the Vietnamese refugees and immigrants. The "haves and not haves, the fortunate and unfortunate" lives of Vietnamese-Americans.

    We should all feel proud to have someone like Andrew to keep us in touch with ourselves and remind us of the challenges in living in America.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    I love Andrew Lam 's work. His essays are written from the heart

    I love Andrew Lam 's work. His essays are written from the heart but chased with a literary flare that demands admiration. As a chinese american i nevertheless find common ground with his soul searching work and see california and immigration in new light. check out his latest as well: birds of paradise lost - an amazing piece of work.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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