Advance praises for "Birds of Paradise Lost"
“These poignant, sometimes humorous, often heart-rending stories gift us with the voices and faces of the Vietnamese-American community: a community that has finally been able to express itself through the fiction of a new generation of writers such as Andrew Lam. Yet this is also fiction which in its universal and human truths pulls off the delicate trick of both including and transcending the ethnic genre and firmly situates Lam among the best writers of American—and world—literature.”
Wayne Karlin, author, Wandering Souls: Journeys with the Dead and the Living in Viet Nam.
Lam has already demonstrated his charisma and wisdom in his essays. With his first collection of stories, he shows that this energy and wit transfers quite easily to his fiction, compelling us with painful, complex stories of perseverance and hope. You will read through these stories quickly, voraciously, and then you will read them again, keeping these characters in your heart, for years to come.
Aimee Phan, author of We Should Never Meet and The Reeducation of Cherry Truong
"When I grow up, I want to be Andrew Lam. I want to write with a kind of voice that is both charming and full of sadness and humor. Mr. Lam is an important writer, providing a unique lens into American life. Yes, someday, I would like to be Andrew Lam."
Noël Alumit, Novelist, Talking to the Moon, Los Angeles Times Bestseller
"I've been reading Andrew Lam's work since he was budding journalist nearly two decades ago. Lam is a sharp writer with wit, charm, and wisdom." Andrew X. Pham, author of Catfish and Mandala.
Andrew Lam’s exacting delivery is matched only by his mesmerizing story; and in this collection of tales, both raw and oneiric, is a majestic credo.
--Oscar Hijuelo, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
“Read Andrew Lam, and bask in his love of language, and his compassion for people, both those here and those from far away. He reminds us that we have history in common; we can laugh and cry together.”
Maxine Hong Kingston, Author of The Woman Warrior.
"As a fellow Vietnamese American, I don't read Andrew Lam's stories; I experience them. There are very few writers who can achieve this for me; Andrew can."
Lac Su, author of the award-winning memoir, I Love Yous Are for White People.
"The exploration of love, detachment, lust, and the complex family dynamics generated with Vietnamese American successes on the West Coast is both profound and entertaining."
Isabelle Pelaud, author of This is all I choose to tell.
“Whatever happened to the Vietnamese ‘boat people’ who escaped after the fall of Saigon? ‘A lot’ is the simple answer; for a complicated, often scabrously funny account, read Andrew Lam's stories. They are so American, so unexpected, so nuanced and robust, that you will be informed, charmed, and deeply moved.”
Howard Junker, Editor, Zyzzyva
"Andrew Lam is one of a handful of writers who are truly necessary to the emotional and intellectual health of American culture today. Whether exploring the contemporary political ironies of the streets, the fates of individual victims of war, or the indefinable tenderness between lovers, his stories show us truth we may have turned away from or never recognized. Lam's stories go deep and stay with you a long time."
Frank Stewart, Editor, Manoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing
“While Andrew Lam’s characters share a broader history, each story is an entire world that Lam animates fully with remarkably spare strokes. What these stories have in common is the intelligence behind them, which is at once fierce, compassionate, and wonderfully perverse. Each story pleases and surprises, and the collection as a whole resonates long after the reading is done.”
Elise Blackwell, author of Hunger.
"Lam writes with heart and humor delivering stories that pack an unexpected emotional punch."
Angie Chau, Quiet As They Come.
“After reading Birds of Paradise, it feels as if one has been to the opera. This is a work drenched in color and music, sorrow and beauty. The intensity of emotion conveyed in these pages is stunning. A bravura performance.”
Lori Marie Carlson, author of The Sunday Tertulia.
“Loss, longing, the riotous, the incongruous: There is nothing predictable here. Lam revels in the unexpected and makes it his country.”
Gish Jen, author of World and Town.
“Grandma is in the freezer, there's Zoloft in the chicken curry, and a man is on fire in Washington D.C. The immigrant story will never be the same again now that it's gone through Andrew Lam's prose - razor-tongued, sophisticated, achingly aware of where it comes from but never imprisoned by its memory. Lam takes the traditional immigrant story and set it ablaze and then serenely rescues from its burning embers what had been there all along - the all-American story.”
Sandip Roy, commentator, Morning Edition, National Public Radio.
“Andrew Lam’s Birds of Paradise brilliantly engages the fundamental theme of much great literary work: who am I and what is my place in the universe? His stories are elegant and humane and funny and sad. Lam has instantly established himself as one of our finest fiction writers.”
Robert Olen Butler, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain