A Vietnamese Odyssey

A Vietnamese OdysseyThe Story Of A Liverpool Family

Iain Wilson

‘A Vietnamese Odyssey’ is the true story of a Liverpool family’s 16 years in South Vietnam, between 1954 and 1970, set against the nationalist conflicts of those years and the subsequent American War.  First published by author Iain Wilson in 2012, this new edition has 212 pages and 12 pages of illustrations.

Told from the author’s perspective as the eldest child, born in Vietnam, the story unfolds in the context of a return trip made in the company of his mother, Margaret, and his sister, Alison, in 1998.  It recounts his parents’ upbringing and how they met in Liverpool in the 1950s, his father’s proposal of marriage across 6000 miles and the subsequent wedding in Saigon.  It describes  the family’s everyday existence in South Vietnam: their work and social life, the children’s upbringing and school life, the friends they made, living with servants and holidays in the country.   For a few years, it is an idyllic existence.

But the book is also set against the backdrop of a divided country with a proud history.  The battle between competing interests vying, on the one hand, to unify the country under Communism and, on the other, to maintain a separate entity, friendly to the West, first corrupts and eventually destroys it completely.    The family’s mundane, if privileged, existence is threatened by political instability, social disruption and increasing violence.  The family are briefly evacuated following the Têt offensive in 1968 and finally forced to leave to seek treatment for Dennis, the father’s, illness.

A generation later, the author and his mother come to terms with the significance of this interval  in their lives while the country itself returns to economic health, assisted by tourism, and contends with the fresh problems of a booming population, social inequality and environmental  impacts.  The story deals with the themes of loss of innocence, social change, belonging and identity.

‘A Vietnamese Odyssey’ is available now, price £8.99 + P&P.  To order a copy, please click on the button below or, if you would like to pay by a different method, please e-mail enquiries@thespiritofplace.co.uk.

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