Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora by Andrew Lam
his long-overdue first collection of essays, noted journalist and NPR commentator Andrew Lam explores his lifelong 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.