The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang
A Hmong Family Memoir

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Synopsis

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 Kao Kalia Yang

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Born in a Thai refugee camp in 1980, KAO KALIA YANG immigrated to Minnesota when she was six. Together with her sister, she founded Words Wanted, a company dedicated to helping immigrants with writing, translating, and business services. A graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University, Yang has also recently completed a short film on the Hmong American refugee experience. Born in a Thai refugee camp in 1980, KAO KALIA YANG immigrated to Minnesota when she was six. Together with her sister, she founded Words Wanted, a company dedicated to helping immigrants with writing, translating, and business services. A graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University, Yang has also recently completed a short film on the Hmong American refugee experience.
 
Published December 15, 2010 by Coffee House Press. 298 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Latehomecomer

Kirkus Reviews

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During the ensuing 20 years, the parents worked ferociously, the children succeeded academically (the author graduated from Carleton College) and the American Dream, in many tangible ways, was realized.

| Read Full Review of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Fa...

Publishers Weekly

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Yang, cofounder of the immigrant-services company Words Wanted, was born in a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand in 1980.

Jan 21 2008 | Read Full Review of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Fa...

Entertainment Weekly

The toll all of this takes on readers is lightened by Kao Kalia Yang's tranquil descriptions of the cultural divide — e.g., the smell of green parrot soap compared with Head & Shoulders shampoo — in The Latehomecomers,a narrative packed with the stuff of life.

Apr 11 2008 | Read Full Review of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Fa...

Bookmarks Magazine

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...

Apr 10 2008 | Read Full Review of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Fa...

BlogHer

My earliest memory is a lush, natural landscape, so it makes sense that I take joy in writing about the natural world.

Jan 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Fa...

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