Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Postcards from NAM

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review - Postcards from NAM

About the Book

A 2011-2012 Fulbright scholarship recipient, Uyen Nicole Duong’s writing career first blossomed at age 16 when she was awarded the Republic of Vietnam’s National Honor Prize for Literature, barely a month before the fall of Saigon. Duong escaped to life in America, graduating from Harvard Law School and becoming the first Vietnamese American appointed as a judge in the United States. Following the success of Daughters of the River Huong praised by Library Journal as a “…beautifully written debut novel” and Mimi and Her Mirror praised by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Robert Olen Butler as “…a powerful saga from a writer of talent giving voice to people from one of the most successful immigrant communities in American history,” Duong gives new voice to the Vietnamese Boat People of her past in the novella: POSTCARDS FROM NAM (AmazonEncore; August 15, 2011; $10.95).

Duong returns to the story of Mimi, the protagonist of Mimi and Her Mirror, whose life as a successful lawyer in Washington, D.C. is suddenly brought back to the war-torn Vietnam of her childhood when anonymous postcards begin to arrive. Postmarked from Thailand, each hand-drawn card is beautifully rendered and signed simply “Nam.” While Mimi doesn’t recognize the name, Nam obviously knows her well, spurring her to launch what will become a decade-long quest to find him. As her search progresses, long-repressed memories begin to bubble to the surface of the boy who once loved her, his path tragically different from Mimi’s own. What ensues is a heartbreaking revelation of those Mimi left behind amid an inspiring story of courage, survival, and the indomitable strength of the human spirit.

Duong, a Harvard graduate and the first Vietnamese American appointed as a judge in the United States, presents this carefully crafted tale coupled with history from her own past. She is available for interview this summer and can discuss the following, among other topics:

Her upcoming Fulbright fellowship; Duong’s research on human trafficking in Southeast Asia and how she proposes both legal and non-legal measures to combat this global problem.  

  • Her firsthand account of the fall of Saigon; Duong escaped the city on a cargo plane in 1975, leaving behind many of her loved ones as well as copies of her first novella, fresh off the press and awaiting distribution by her beloved grandfather.

  • Her inspiration for POSTCARDS FROM NAM; how her past influences her writing and painting on l’Art Brut today (select images available for use). 

  • How her profession as a lawyer has influenced her writing; Duong is the first Vietnamese American appointed as a judge in the United States and served as an associate municipal judge and magistrate in Texas.  She was also a law professor for 10 years at the University of Denver and has recently been selected as a Fulbright scholar by the U.S. government.  

  • A heart wrenching tale which transports readers to the war-torn alleys of Vietnam, POSTCARDS FROM NAM offers a portrait of a lost generation and is not to be missed.

    My Take on the Book

    While I did not read the first two stories in this series, this book could definitely stand on its own. The author does a wonderful job at bringing the reader into the story itself, and uses great imagery to include the reader in the dialogue and action of the story.

    The author also has done a good job at developing the characters for the reader. Even though a number of the characters are held over from earlier books, a new reader can also come to a better understanding of their lives and feel for the struggles that they endure.

    The book does an amazing job at shedding light to the world of Vietnam. It brings light to the world that was Vietnam and lets you see the world through the eyes of its inhabitants.

    The only downside to the book was that the book did leave a lot of questions unanswered about Mimi and her family and for me I tend to like at least some closure on books when I am complete, but that is just me.

    Saying this though, this short novella was a good read and was one that I would still recommend to all!

    All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
    New to the Divadom or to Dad of Divas Reviews
    Please Subscribe to my RSS Feed! Subscribe in a reader
    Questions?Drop me a line at

    No comments: