Aussie writer takes second look at Viet Nam
HA NOI (VNS) — Australian author Pam Scott looks back on her long love affair with Viet Nam and the amazing changes the country has gone through in her latest book Viet Nam Revisited, released yesterday in Ha Noi.
|Return engagement: Viet Nam Revisited by Australian author Pam Scott. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
Scott is well-known for her earlier works on Viet Nam published in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
She first came to Viet Nam in 1993, a time when the country had begun opening its economy to the world while re-integrating into the international community. Living and working in Ha Noi and HCM City during many years of rapid growth and social change gave Scott the chance to meet a wide range of people with interesting stories to tell, and many of them became her friends.
Her book also delves into the history of the nation, pondering on the differences between the capital city of Ha Noi and the country's economic hub of HCM City. Although it was Ha Noi that originally captured Scott's heart, after living in HCM City for a year she felt for the charms of this much younger and vibrant city.
Viet Nam's rapid growth has seen changes in many aspects of and some of the people to see the greatest change have been women.
Scott provides an insight into the lives of Vietnamese women, both traditional and modern, in prose that celebrates their strength while maintaining their femininity.
"I consider Viet Nam as my second home," said Scott, "and I get homesick for Viet Nam if I have been away for a long time."
"This book is dedicated to all my Vietnamese friends. I can't thank them enough for their generosity and hospitality to me."
Tran Doan Lam, director of the book's publisher The Gioi Publisher, said the book provides an insight into a dynamic country and people.
"Written in an entertaining and very readable style, the book gives a loving first hand account of what it was like to live amongst lively, fun-loving and hard-working Vietnamese in a country rushing headlong into the 21st century," said Lam.
The book also features several photographs taken by Scott during her time in Viet Nam, with Scott showing an interest in highlighting the modern face of the country.
"The publishing house's editor selected a beautiful image of a Vietnamese landscape for the cover of the book but it was rejected because Scott said this kind of image is already too familiar for readers, and she wants to highlight the modern Viet Nam," Lam said.
Scott said she wanted her book to be about the real, contemporary Viet Nam.
"So I chose the image of a busy market in Ha Noi for the cover," she said.
Asked about whether she has any plans to write more books, Scott said that her current passion was to encourage Vietnamese writers to write their own stories for the rest of the world.
"I want to run some master classes and mentoring programmes for Vietnamese writers to help them understand how to write the sort of non-fiction books that Westerners want to read," she said, "Viet Nam has millions of stories to tell the world."
The book is now on sale priced at VND200,000 (nearly US$10) at the The Gioi Publishing House, 46 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ha Noi.
The publishing house has also released Scott's Trailblazers of Fortune on the French colonial period and In Search of the Pearl of the Far East on HCM City. — VNS