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Vietnamese American author Andrew Lam on his new book "Birds of Paradise Lost"

The immigrant experience is meant to be a smooth one, full of promise. Ideally, people from developing countries come to America for better work, education, human rights and, overall, and a better future for their children.

However, many of these stories turn out to be not as polished as that narrative. Immigrants often need to learn a new language, navigate a new system, face realities they never have before, and find their way in a new adopted country. Their hopes are high, and sometimes they end up unmet.

A new book documents those realities. Vietnamese American author Andrew Lam wrote a book of short stories chronicling the good, the bad, the ugly, the kinky, and the hilarious of the Vietnamese American experience here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s called Birds of Paradise Lost. Lam spoke with KALW's Hana Baba. (Note: this interview contains some adult material.)

Andrew Lam is a journalist, editor at New America Media, and the author of another book, Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora. He is appearing in conversation with writer Aimee Phan at the Mechanics' Institute Library in San Francisco on March 21, 2013 at 6pm at the Mechanics' Institute Library at Post and Kearny in San Francisco. Tickets cost $12 and are available here.

Crosscurrents Immigration
Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.