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My Viet: Vietnamese American Literature in English, 1962-Present
280pp. July 2011
My Viet: Vietnamese American Literature in English, 1962-Present
Editor: Janette, Michele;
Twentieth-century America reduced Vietnam to “’Nam”: the surreal site of a military nightmare. The early twenty-first century has seen the revision of this image to recognize the people and culture of Vietnam itself. Vietnamese Americans, both immigrants and the American children of immigrants, have participated in changing this perception, consistently presenting their side of the story in memoirs published since the 1960s. My Viet is the first anthology to provide a comprehensive overview of these memoirs and the historical picture they offer and to include Vietnamese writing that goes beyond memoir, revealing a new generation of Vietnamese American poetry, fiction, and drama.

The narratives in Part 1, Tales of Witness, treat the major events of the Vietnamese diasapora: Vietnam’s resistance to French colonization, the “Vietnam War,” post-war Vietnamese life, immigration to and life in America, and reconnections with contemporary Vietnam. Part 2, Tales of Imagination, moves beyond the master narratives of war and immigration to survey exciting innovations in the work of Vietnamese American writers. The texts demonstrate the full flowering of Vietnamese American literature in English and are among the best contemporary writings of any category.

My Viet presents a rich, varied, and provocative collection of literary work that explores Vietnam from many Vietnamese points of view, sees America through a specifically Vietnamese American lens, and broadens the scope of Vietnamese American literature to its fullest extent.
“For many Americans, “Vietnam” means a war rather than a country. With this collection of Vietnamese American literature in English, Janette provides a much-needed corrective to this assumption. Written entirely from the Vietnamese perspective, these pieces offer readers the opportunity to forego the American point of view well documented in earlier collections. . . . The book moves from memories of war to the remarkable achievement of Vietnamese American literature. An excellent choice for introducing students to this body of work. Highly recommended.” —Choice (49:5, January 2012)

“This book brings together, for the first time ever, work that showcases the depth and breadth of Vietnamese diaspora writers in English. It provides a very valuable resource for teaching, as well as for study, and makes a major contribution to the fields of American literature, Asian American literature, Viet Nam war studies, ethnic studies and Southeast Asian area studies.” —Renny Christopher, California State University

“This timely anthology offers us a comprehensive introduction to the Vietnamese American experience. The variety of texts—fiction, non-fiction, poetry—provides a varied and nuanced exploration of Vietnam from diverse points of view. History, war, language, politics, families, immigration, and ethnicity are among the issues creatively examined in the texts, which lead us to greater insight into the multilayered reality of Vietnam and Vietnamese America. Michelle Janette’s introduction thoughtfully contextualizes the key questions and issues for scholars and students, offering models for critical approaches to this developing field.” —Rocío G. Davis, Professor of English, City University of Hong Kong
Editor: Janette, Michele;
Michele Janette is associate professor of English and head of the Women’s Studies Department at Kansas State University.
Read the Contents and the Introduction (PDF).