Far East Comes Near

Lucy Nguyen-Hong-Nhiem, Editor, Joel M. Halpern, Editor University of Massachusetts Press $20.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-87023-672-3
Professors at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the editors here gather autobiographical essays written by 25 students who fled the upheavals in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and settled in Massachusetts. Handicapped in their use of English, the refugees are not gifted stylists, but their narratives convey the pain and horror of their experiences. Many describe escapes by boat, contending with Thai pirates and with the well-grounded fear that rescue might not materialize. Others discuss the children's camps, where, separated from their parents, they were compelled to labor strenuously and to witness the wanton murders of siblings and young friends. A few entries by American journalists and scholars superficially analyze political unrest and its psychological ramifications; and the comparative homogeneity of the student contributors--their ages, their having enrolled in the same course at the same institution--affords only a narrow perspective on the diverse plight of the refugee. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
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