Andrew Lam at the San Francisco Public Library

Wednesday May 25 2016   6:00 PM
San Francisco Public Library  100 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA  map

Andrew Lam, author of Perfume Dreams and East Eats West, will read from his book, Birds of Paradise Lost, the San Francisco Public Library’s May/June On The Same Page selection. The past plays itself out in surprising ways in the lives of people who thought they had moved beyond the nightmares of war and exodus. It comes back on TV in the form of a confession from a cannibal; it enters the Vietnamese restaurant as a Vietnam vet with a shameful secret; it articulates itself in the peculiar tics of a man with Tourette’s syndrome who struggles to deal with a profound tragedy.

Lam’s stories of the Vietnamese diaspora touches on older generations, but also the younger ones as well, giving readers a diverse cast of characters, ranging from old professors to middle-aged gay men to teenagers who have adopted the slang of their new urban neighborhood. The thirteen stories in the book are told with humor and poignancy as they explore the troubled lives of those who fled Vietnam and remade themselves in the San Francisco Bay Area. The past—memories of war and its aftermath, of murder, arrest, re-education camps and new economic zones, of escape and shipwreck and atrocity—haunt these stories.

Free and open to the public; for more information visit

Andrew LamAndrew Lam is an editor and cofounder of New America Media, an association of over two thousand ethnic media outlets in America. His essays have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines across the country, and his short stories are anthologized widely. Followed by a film crew back to his homeland, Vietnam, he was featured in the documentary My Journey Home, which aired nationwide on PBS in 2004. His book Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora won a PEN American Beyond Margins award in 2006. Lam currently lives in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Lam