I really enjoyed this novel. I’ve developed a love of literature based in Southeast Asia since travelling there, and although I never made it to Vietnam I was able to visualise this novel well, thanks to the excellent atmospheric descriptions.
The Trader of Saigon is set in post-civil war Vietnam, and tells the story of three seemingly unconnected people: Alexander a defector from the Americans who cannot go home, Phuc a well-respected businessman whose business was taken from him during the war and is struggling to make ends meet and feed his family, and Hanh a poor rural girl living in Hanoi who works long hours to buy medicine for her poorly mother.
I loved the sense of place, and really enjoyed the way the three separate stories built and became entwined. Some of the characters weren’t always especially likeable at times, but their behaviour was in keeping with the sense of desperation at this time, with people ripped from their lives into poverty – something that made made them do terrible, uncharacteristic things.
In hardback now but definitely worth reading, highly recommended.