The “unforgettable” true story of a family’s journey from the jungles of Laos to a Thailand refugee camp—and finally, to America (Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down).
Kao Kalia Yang was born in 1980 a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand. Her people had fought alongside the Americans in the Vietnam War, but in the tumult that followed, they spent years without a real home. Though her grandmother was reluctant to journey even farther from her birthplace than they already had, the family convinced her that America was their best option.
Landing first in California, they eventually settled in St. Paul, Minnesota. Like so many other immigrants, the adults worked long hours, sacrificing in order to give their children opportunities to succeed and reflect well on their community. But the Hmong faced unique challenges, coming from a rain forest as a little-known ethnic group that did not have a written language of its own. Yet, Yang would eventually grow up to write this memoir—“a narrative packed with the stuff of life” (Entertainment Weekly) that would become a winner of the Minnesota Book Award, a finalist for a PEN Award, and one of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read selections.
“Yang tells her family’s story with grace; she narrates their struggles, beautifully weaving in Hmong folklore and culture…[a] moving, unforgettable book.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[A] beautiful memoir…Yang intimately chronicles the immigrant experience from the Hmong perspective, providing a long-overdue contribution to the history and literature of ethnic America.”—Booklist