Hearts of Sorrow: Vietnamese-American Lives

Hearts of Sorrow: Vietnamese-American Lives

Hearts of Sorrow: Vietnamese-American Lives

Hearts of Sorrow: Vietnamese-American Lives

Synopsis

The first-person narratives in this book provide a glimpse into the personal lives of fourteen Vietnamese-Americans who were devastated by war and the refugee experience but who were able to create new lives in a new cultural environment.

Excerpt

As she handed me the final assignment that completed her undergraduate education, I asked the young Vietnamese woman if she planned to attend her graduation ceremony. Tears came to her eyes, and she replied softly, "No, my parents are no longer alive; they died in Vietnam. My education meant so much to them. I cannot go when they are not there to celebrate."

Parent-child bonds, sadness in remembering the death of one's parents, the high value placed on education, these are certainly not unique to the Vietnamese. But the grief of that young woman derived from something more: she is a refugee who sought political asylum in the United States; she may never again see her ancestral land. Never can she celebrate without triggering memories and sadness.

This book is about the end of an era, a world lost, a way of life that exists now only in memory. It is also about people whose lives were devastated by war and the refugee experience, but who found the inner strength to struggle on and create new lives in a new cultural environment. The narratives in this book provide a glimpse into the personal lives of Vietnamese-Americans, revealing some of their deepest hopes and fears and documenting what they consider to be their successes and failures.

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