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Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

I fell in love with The Mountains Sing's lyrical prose. Dust Child grabbed me just as quickly and intensely. I wanted to savour it but I had to know what happened. As with The Mountains Sing I went on to research the war in Vietnam. Since finishing Dust Child I have been learning about the Amerasians and what they went through. One of the many things I love about Dust Child is how beautifully Vietnam is described, right down to the light on banana leaves. The proverbs Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai includes are simple but incredibly powerful. A story of hope and love and resilience.

Dust Child is an important and powerful story about 'the ostracized, mixed-race children of American soldiers; their mothers, compelled by war into prostitution, and their fathers, the G.I.'s who abandoned them and yet remained haunted by them' - Professor Wayne Karlin, author of Wandering Soul.

From the back

Four lives, entwined forever by decisions made in a time of conflict. But what happens decades later when they unexpectedly converge once more?

Trang and Quynh: sisters who leave their rural village for the bustling city of Saigon, desperate to find work to help their impoverished parents. When they take jobs as ‘ bar girls’, paid to flirt with American GIs, they must decide whether they are willing to turn their backs on the people they used to be.

Phong: one of the thousands of mixed-race children abandoned by their American fathers and Vietnamese mothers. Phong grows up surrounded by rejection, insulted as a ‘Black American imperialist’, and a ‘child of the enemy’. But he never gives up hope of finding his parents and proving he is more than a ‘bui doi’: more than the ‘dust of life’.

Dan: A former American helicopter pilot still plagued by regrets about his actions during the Việt Nam war. Now he has returned in the hope of confronting the demons that refuse to fall silent.

Set between the Việt Nam war and the present day, Dust Child is a sweeping epic of family secrets and hidden heartache, from an internationally celebrated author.


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