Little Saigon Enclaves: Background information when reading The Refugees

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Refugees

by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen X
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2017, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2018, 224 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
Buy This Book

About this Book

Little Saigon Enclaves

This article relates to The Refugees

Print Review

The name "Little Saigon" is often given to an area where there are a large number of people of Vietnamese origin. When The Refugees author Viet Thanh Nguyen arrived in the United States in the mid '70s at the age of four, he lived in a refugee camp and then with a couple of sponsor families in Pennsylvania before being reunited with his own family. For much of his childhood his family lived in San Jose, California, where his parents owned an ethnic grocery store. San Jose and Orange County, California are the largest and oldest Vietnamese communities in the United States, along with Houston, Texas.

Little Saigon Sign in California Orange County is home to an estimated 189,000 Vietnamese-Americans. The city of Garden Grove in Orange County hosts Tết, the annual Vietnamese Lunar New Year festival in late January/early February. Westminster has a number of Vietnamese television and radio stations, and is also the headquarters of a small Vietnamese pop music scene.

San Jose is over 10% Vietnamese-American and has the most Vietnamese residents of any city outside of Vietnam. There has been resistance to the name "Little Saigon," though. For a short time in 2007–8, a City Council vote changed it to "Saigon Business District," but less than six months later, the decision was overturned; the area has not been officially renamed. Two popular Vietnamese restaurant chains, Lee's Sandwiches and Pho Hoa, got their start here. The Viet Museum at History Park (also known as the Museum of the Boat People and the Republic of Vietnam) opened in 2007 after 30 years in the pipeline. Funded by the San Jose nonprofit Immigrant Resettlement & Cultural Center, Inc., the museum is dedicated to the Vietnamese-American experience and to Vietnamese people's different journeys to America.

California also has a high concentration of Vietnamese-Americans in Oakland, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, and the San Gabriel Valley. Other U.S. cities with a notable Vietnamese presence include Falls Church, Virginia; Orlando; New Orleans; Atlanta; Oklahoma City; Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas; Denver; and Seattle. Further afield, Victoria Street in the Melbourne, Australia suburb of Richmond has been dubbed "Little Saigon."

The video below gives a tour of "Little Saigon" in San Jose on the special occasion of Tết, including a peek at the Grand Century Mall, which houses dozens of Vietnamese stores:



Picture of Little Saigon sign by Codobai

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

Article by Rebecca Foster

This article relates to The Refugees. It first ran in the March 22, 2017 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Black Sun
    Black Sun
    by Rebecca Roanhorse
    Reading the first book in a series is always difficult because readers know that, by definition, it ...
  • Book Jacket: Somewhere in the Unknown World
    Somewhere in the Unknown World
    by Kao Kalia Yang
    Resettled refugees are mostly invisible. Their needs are rarely publicized and their struggles are ...
  • Book Jacket: The Orchard
    The Orchard
    by David Hopen
    The protagonist of David Hopen's first novel, The Orchard, is 17-year-old Aryeh Eden, a Brooklyn boy...
  • Book Jacket: What Are You Going Through
    What Are You Going Through
    by Sigrid Nunez
    Shortly into What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez, it becomes clear that the narrator is ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Smallest Lights in the Universe
    by Sara Seager

    A luminous memoir by an MIT astrophysicist who must reinvent herself in the wake of tragedy.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win This Book!
Win Jack

Return to Gilead with Jack, the instant New York Times bestseller

Enter to win Marilynne Robinson's latest novel in her classic series.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I G I O Ear A O T O

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.