Behind the Red Curtain: a Memoir, by Hồng-Mỹ Basrai
Coming April 2020 from Los Nietos Press
Behind the Red Curtain begins in Saigon in 1975 as South Vietnam falls to the Communist North Vietnamese. In the voice of a young teenager, the author unfolds the story of her family in a world turned upside down with the political re-making of the country. In breath-taking detail and with a keen insight into the souls of her family and the many other people she encountered, Hồng-Mỹ writes about the gradual disappearance of all aspects of her former life and the impact it had on all those around her. The family’s struggle to survive, their several attempts to escape and the imprisonment that they experienced is laid bare in heart-breaking intimacy, yet the connection to the universal themes of dislocation and the will to struggle for survival are never lost.
Within the larger events that affected a whole country and its people, this story is also about youth. The author’s anguish over her shortcomings, her self-doubt and needs are the same as those experienced by every youth growing up. And the author’s ability to maintain a sense of humor throughout all of this, her ability to connect on a person-to-person basis with all around her and her constant sensitivity to the culture and traditions of Vietnam make this memoir an amazing read. In this tale of pain and poetry, readers cannot help but simultaneously cry hot tears and roll with laughter.
Born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, Hồng-Mỹ Basrai (née Lê) is fluent in Vietnamese and French. Hồng-Mỹ’s love for literature and languages was evident from a very young age. Transplanted at twenty-two to Southern California, she picked up English and improvised with the borrowed language to make it her own. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from California State University, Pomona and an informal degree in self-taught English. She is a member of the Writers Club of Whittier. Hồng-Mỹ ‘s writings can be found in Eastlit Literary Journal, 2011 Writing from Inlandia Anthology, East Jasmine Review, and Invisible Memoirs “Lionhearted”.
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