An excellent memoir that is truly a "family memoir" about Yang's family's harrowing journey through the mountains of Laos, surviving in the refugee camps in Thailand, and finally the challenges of being refugees in America, specifically St. Paul, MN. I learned so much and really enjoyed the way in which this story was told, which felt almost like it could be an oral history in parts - much like the way Hmong language and culture has been passed down - through the spoken word rather than written word.
Kao Kalia Yang immigrated to the United States with her parents and older sister in 1987, after having spent the first seven years of her life in a refugee camp in Thailand. Although her family's native home was in Laos, the Hmong people were no longer welcome in that country after having assisted the U.S. during the Vietnam War. 'The Latehomecomer' is the story of her family history in Laos and Thailand, their eventual resettling in Minnesota, and their efforts to adapt to the unfamiliar culture and prepare Kao Kalia and her siblings for success in their new home.
I found the historical detail surrounding Hmong history and their displacement following the Vietnam War extremely helpful and informative in understanding why Minnesota saw such a sudden increase in Hmong immigration in the 1980s and 1990s. I would speculate that the majority of Minnesotans have very little idea of who the Hmong are, why they no longer have a "home country," and why the U.S. bears responsibility.
Poetic story of a heroic family journey.
Title for November 2013
Amazing new writer...great book.
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