The Latehomecomer

The Latehomecomer

A Hmong Family Memoir

By Kao Kalia Yang

Coffee House Press, Paperback, 9781566892087, 277pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2008

Description

In search of a place to call home, thousands of Hmong families made the journey from the war-torn jungles of Laos to the overcrowded refugee camps of Thailand and onward to America. But lacking a written language of their own, the Hmong experience has been primarily recorded by others. Driven to tell her family's story after her grandmother's death, "The Latehomecomer" is Kao Kalia Yang's tribute to the remarkable woman whose spirit held them all together. It is also an eloquent, firsthand account of a people who have worked hard to make their voices heard.

Beginning in the 1970s, as the Hmong were being massacred for their collaboration with the United States during the Vietnam War, Yang recounts the harrowing story of her family's captivity, the daring rescue undertaken by her father and uncles, and their narrow escape into Thailand where Yang was born in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp.

When she was six years old, Yang's family immigrated to America, and she evocatively captures the challenges of adapting to a new place and a new language. Through her words, the dreams, wisdom, and traditions passed down from her grandmother and shared by an entire community have finally found a voice.

Together with her sister, Kao Kalia Yang is the founder of a company dedicated to helping immigrants with writing, translating, and business services. A graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University, Yang has recently screened "The Place Where We Were Born," a film documenting the experiences of Hmong American refugees. Visit her website at www.kaokaliayang.com.



About the Author
Kao Kalia Yang is the author of "The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, "which was a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award and the Asian American Literary Award, and received the 2009 Minnesota Book Award. Her work has been published in "Longreads" and the "Virginia Quarterly". Yang, who has taught at Columbia University and Concordia University-St. Paul, among other places, lives in Minnesota.