The Lotus and the Storm

Lan Cao on Vietnam and the Lives of Those Left Behind

Aug 18, 2014 by Lan Cao
Biographile, August 2014 view online article

Bridget Thoreson, Review

Aug 02, 2014 by Lan Cao
The Lotus and the Storm. Lan Cao. Aug. 2014. 400p. Viking, hardcover, $27.95 (9780670016921).

For all that has been written about the Vietnam War, little has come from the perspective of the South Vietnamese whose lives were shattered in the conflict. Cao looks to rectify that imbalance in this complex tale of a father and daughter who fled to America, forever marked by the war and its aftermath. The novel, which is informed by the author’s own life, spans major events such as the Tet Offensive and the exodus from Vietnam following the Communist takeover of Saigon. But the immersive core of this story is on a much more domestic scale, as both Mai and her father, Minh, struggle with the...


Jul 31, 2014 by Lan Cao
THE LOTUS AND THE STORM, by Lan Cao, Viking August 2014

Written with acute psychological insight and poetic flair, this deeply moving novel illuminates the ravages of war as experienced by a South Vietnamese family.

In a rewarding follow-up to her well-received debut, Monkey Bridge (1997), the author returns to the conflict that shaped her own destiny before she was airlifted from her native Saigon to live in Virginia. Here, she shows what happens to a family of four—a South Vietnamese airborne commander, his beautiful wife and their two young daughters—as the war challenges loyalties with betrayals. The story is narrated by two characters: Mai, the younger daughter, who recalls her girlhood as the war intensified from her current home in Virginia;...

Interview with Lan Cao: Diving into the Wreckage and into the World

Jul 02, 2014 by Lan Cao
DiaCRITICS, July 2014 view online article

Library Journal

Jun 30, 2014 by Lan Cao
July 2014 Cao's long-awaited follow-up to Monkey Bridge is a sprawling saga that follows one family through the Vietnam War almost to the present day. Minh is a South Vietnamese army commander whose wife, Quy, comes from a prominent land-owning family. As the political winds shift and the Americans become more entrenched in the military action in Vietnam, the family's fortunes sometimes seem connected to Minh's uneasy friendship with Phong, one of the leaders of the 1963 coup. Much of the story is told in flashback from 2006, when Minh and his younger daughter Mai, who suffers from mental illness caused by childhood traumas, are living in Virginia. VERDICT The story of the Vietnam War from the Vietnamese point of view,...

Weekend All Things Considered: Jacki Lyden, Interview

Apr 16, 2014 by Lan Cao
National Public Radio, July 20, 1997, Transcript Number 97072008-216. Read More. 

Library Journal

Mar 14, 2014 by Lan Cao
March 2014 In 1997, Cao triumphed with the debut Monkey Bridge, a multi-award finalist that even Michiko Kakutani admired. Now she's returned with another story illuminating our experience in the Vietnam War. Living in an insular Vietnamese American community with her father, a former South Vietnamese commander, Mai uncovers unsettling truths about what really happened to her family during that war.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Apr 15, 2001 by Lan Cao
Crossing From Vietnam With Lan Cao, Spring 2001 view pdf

L'Express Magazine

May 15, 2000 by Lan Cao
L'Entretien: Lan Cao, May 2000 view pdf

Duke Law: The Impact of Technology

Apr 15, 1999 by Lan Cao
Visiting Law Professor Lan Cao's Vietnam Memories Turned into Praised Work of Fiction, Spring 1999 view pdf

Long Way from Saigon, Asian Week, The Voice of Asian America

Dec 03, 1997 by Lan Cao
November 27-December 3, 1997, Hane C. Lee

Since 1990 and Jessica Hagedorn’s brilliant “Dogeaters,” there have been maybe a half dozen first novels by Asian American women widely lauded for their originality, their unique voice, and their promise. But the attention given Lan Cao’s exquisitely melancholic and deeply introspective work “Monkey Bridge” goes even further.

As the first novel of the Vietnam War experience written by a Vietnamese American, the book has not only garnered praise from special-interest segments such as Vietnam War scholars, but also from the popular media, such as People and the New York Times.

But unlike “Dogeaters” – whose sharp-tongued, attitude-laden characters seem to effortlessly traverse the cultural mélange of contemporary Manila – “Monkey Bridge” illuminates a clash of...

Brooklyn Law Society: Law Notes

Sep 15, 1997 by Lan Cao
Spotlight: Professor Lan Cao, Fall 1997 view pdf

Orange County Register, Sunday Morning Edition

Aug 24, 1997 by Lan Cao
Across a Trembling Span, by Hieu Tran Phan, August 24, 1997

For more than two decades, Lan Cao has lived under the shadow of the Vietnam War.

The specter first appeared in 1975, when South Vietnam’s imminent surrender to communist forces compelled the 13-year-old’s family to flee their homeland. Cao resettled in Arlington, VA. She mastered English. Made new friends. Attended Mount Holyoke College and Yale University’s Law School. Became a Wall Street lawyer, and now a law professor in Brooklyn.

All along, however, the shadow of war trailed her.

Soon after setting foot on U.S. soil, she witnessed its oppressive silence toward the ostracized veterans. She felt its sting of prejudice from people who labeled her a Viet Cong. She seemed forever attached to the...

Across Monkey Bridge, Asian Pages

Aug 15, 1997 by Lan Cao
August 1-14, 1997, Twin Cities, Minnesota, By Frank Joseph

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche observed, one hundred years ago, “Humanity is a bridge stretched over an abyss from the past to the future.” His poetic analogy has been most recently brought back to life in a transgenerational, transcultural story by Lan Cao.

But Monkey Bridge is neither fiction woven from whole cloth, nor a thinly veiled historical novel. To be sure, the author’s own flight from her native Vietnam, when she was 13 years old, just before the U.S. military withdrawal, and her rapid American acculturalization with which her emotionally traditional mother had difficulty keeping pace, are the fundamental elements upon which Monkey Bridge was built. But her experience, although deeply personal, was...

Identities in New Book, Asian American Press

Jul 25, 1997 by Lan Cao
Author Describes Bridging Cultures, Week of July 25, 1997

St. Paul, July 22 – Although the passing of twenty two years should improve perspective, the aftermath of the Vietnam war from the point of view of the Vietnamese Americans has rarely been examined in fiction. A newly published novel, “Monkey Bridge,” by first-time author Lan Cao undertakes that very task in a dramatic and insightful way.

Cao, a 36 year old Vietnamese American woman, is a law professor who lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her novel is drawn from personal experience. It illustrates cultural identity dilemmas, a young woman’s coming of age, the war and its aftermath, and rethinking traditions in the context of a mother/daughter relationship.

The story is told in the voice...