Once in a rare while a novel comes along that succeeds in taking us away from home in order to show us what it means to be American. The saviors of this novel set in a Vietnamese refugee camp off the coast of Malaysia are, among others, a pair of contrasting Americans: the outsized, outrageous, and highly opinionated Reuben Gill, and a thoughtful, diplomatic woman named Bobbie Porkpie Sortini.Like a feudal kingdom, the refugee camp on the island of Bidong has a law of its own that occasionally takes note of the Vietnamese but usually ignores their needs and natures. The island is home to an array of unpredictable characters - Gurmit Singh, a Sikh in charge of Bidong who is woefully in over his head; a Malaysian police captain with a power base all his own; a variety of self-important refugee workers; and, of course, the Vietnamese. Faced with this odd collection of people and the imminent decision of whether or not to close the camp, it is no wonder that Reuben and Porkpie find themselves fomenting rebellion.
- Hardback | 368 pages
- 157.48 x 228.6 x 33.02mm | 612.35g
- 18 Jan 1999
- HOUGHTON MIFFLIN
- United States