Looking for a unique taste of the voices of the Vietnamese American experience? Look no further as two award-winning authors celebrate the release of their new books with a special reading and discussion on Tuesday, September 21.
Award-winning authors Monique Truong and Andrew Lam will be reading from their new books, Bitter in the Mouth (Random House) and East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres (Heyday Books), respectively, in conjunction with the Vietnamese Arts & Letters Association (VAALA), at VAALA Cultural Center in Santa Ana, Calif.
Truong, who was born in Saigon and lives in New York City, won acclaim for her first novel, The Book of Salt. The 2010 Guggenheim Fellow follows up her New York Times Notable book with Bitter in the Mouth, a story following Vietnamese adoptee Linda Hammerick who has a special yet burdensome gift — she experiences words as tastes. Boyfriends are orange sherbet or parsnips. Her own name is mint. It’s a real-world neurological condition called auditory-gustatory synesthesia. She writes: “The truth about my family was that we disappointed one another. When I heard the word ‘disappointed,’ I tasted toast, slightly burnt.”
But it’s not just about her unusual sensorial talent. Woven into Linda’s story is the history of her home state, North Carolina, as well as her upbringing as the only one of Asian descent in a southern stronghold.
On the other side of the cultural palate is editor and co-founder of New America Media Andrew Lam’s East Eats West. Following up on his critically acclaimed Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora, the Saigon-born Lam offers a series of essays that shines new light on the bridges that connect two hemispheres into one worldwide immigrant nation. From cuisine and martial arts to sex and self-esteem, East Eats West is part memoir, part meditation, and part cultural anthropology.
Following their readings, the two authors will join University of California, Riverside, professor Mariam B. Lam and writer Ky-Phong Tran in a discussion exploring diaspora, theme, craft and the writer’s life. A wine reception is to follow.
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear and meet these two exciting Asian American authors!
Monique Truong and Andrew Lam readings
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
VAALA Cultural Center, 1600 N. Broadway #101, Santa Ana, CA 92706
Free and open to the public
For more info, go to VAALA.
To see where else Andrew Lam will be appearing, click here.