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Publisher's Summary

In the 70s and 80s, thousands of Hmong families made the journey from the war-torn jungles of Laos to the overcrowded refugee camps of Thailand and onward to the United States, all in search of a new place to call home. Decades later, their experiences remain largely unknown.

Kao Kalia Yang was driven to tell her own family's story after her grandmother’s death. The Latehomecomer is a tribute to that grandmother, a remarkable woman whose spirit held her family together through their imprisonment in Laos, their narrow escape into Thailand's Ban Vinai Refugee Camp, their immigration to St. Paul when Yang was only six years old, and their transition to life in America. It is also an eloquent firsthand account of a people who have worked hard to make their voices heard in their adopted homeland.

©2008 Kao Kalia Yang (P)2011 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"Yang tells her family’s story with grace; she narrates their struggles, beautifully weaving in Hmong folklore and culture. By the end of this moving, unforgettable book, when Yang describes the death of her beloved grandmother, readers will delight at how intimately they have become part of this formerly strange culture." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Yang intimately chronicles the immigrant experience from the Hmong perspective, providing a long-overdue contribution to the history and literature of ethnic America." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about The Latehomecomer

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Highly Recommend!

Kao Kalia Yang is an amazing writer and story teller. I highly recommend reading this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Better than reading it!

I first read this beautiful book in print. I then listened to it on audible and listening to the author read is so pleasant. Yang has a peaceful voice and in many places reads like the words are poetry. I highly recommend the audio version.

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Beautiful!

I loved this book so much. It was such an honor to hear it by the author herself. Not only is Kao Kalia Yang an amazing writer, but is also a phenomenal speaker. You can hear the emotions in her voice and truly brings the story to life.

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Great Hmong history, lousy literature

I liked learning about Hmong history and culture, but this book’s relentlessly over-the-top sentimentality was too much for me. Especially the third act: just because you really really loved your grandma and felt really really sad that she died does not make it a good story worth telling every trivial detail about. And her one-note narrative voice, that seemed always to be begging for sympathy instead of creating it with a plot that does more than enumerate all the things that happened, made listening all the more difficult. I got the feeling the story was too close to her, that she was doing therapy rather than creating art.

3 people found this helpful

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Ming life before during and after the Secret War

Tragic, heartbreaking, insightful, and yet hopeful. This story paints a picture of horrors I never knew happened.

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This book will make you want a bigger family

Kao Kalia Yang writes about how her father and uncles, strong Hmong men, appeared weak when they first arrived to America: refugees on welfare without a firm grasp of the language or customs. In this book, she regains her family's strength with the power of her words and the story of their incredible journey.

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Loved it!

wonderful narration! Loved it! very educational and well written! This is a book I will read again!

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Quietly powerful

Beautifully written and quietly powerful story of immigration, love for family, and experience of loss.

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familiar and inspiring story

Although a soft voice, she tells a powerful story of refugees and her family experience.

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Thank you for sharing

A unique look into the experience of an immigrant family. The story comes from the heart. It has a voice of discovery, innocence, and great love.