Inside Out & Back Again

Inside Out & Back Again

Moving to America turns Hà's life inside out.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by … and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.

Even though Inside Out & Back Again is semi-autobiographical, it took Lai many attempts and 15 years to get the voice right. She comments, -Then one day I jotted down exactly what Hà would be feeling as she stood on the playground, not able to speak or understand English, yet able to feel every morsel of anger and humiliation as her classmates taunted her. Her feelings came out in quick, crisp images, not sentences. I built on that and thus discovered the voice for the novel. I had no idea that I was writing in a well-established style called prose poems. I do not consider myself a poet, but a writer who disappears behind a character.'

Inside Out & Back Again is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next. As Kathi Appelt, bestselling author of Newbery Honor Book The Underneath, says, -Open this book and read it slowly to savor the delicious language. This is a book that asks the reader to be careful, to pay attention, to sigh at the end.'

Thanhha Lai was born in Vietnam in 1965 (The Year of the Snake), a time of war. The youngest of nine children, life was easy. At school she was ranked top in her class. On April 30, 1975, the Communist North Vietnam won the war, and Lai and her family (living in Saigon, South Vietnam) scrambled onto a navy ship and ended up in Montgomery, Alabama, in southern United States. Life became more complicated, with Lai not speaking English and never having tasted a hot dog. Add to that her looks. She was the first real-life Asian her classmates had ever seen. These experiences inspired Inside Out & Back Again, her first novel. With a degree in journalism and a MFA in Creative Writing, Lai now lives in New York City teaching at The New School. She enjoys running, biking, reading, writing, and chasing after her four-year-old.

Inside Out & Back Again
Author: Thanhha Lai
ISBN: 97807022 49419
Price: $16.95


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