Vietnam as if... Tales of Youth, Love and Destiny

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

Vietnam as if… follows five young people who have moved from the countryside to the city. Their dramatic everyday lives illuminate some of the most pressing issues in Vietnam today: ‘The Sticky Rice Seller’ explores gender roles; ‘The Ball Boy’ is all about the struggles of sexual and ethnic minorities, ‘The Professional’ examines relations between rich and poor, ‘The Goal Keeper’ delves into politics and ideology and ‘The Student’ reflects upon family and faith. The stories also reboot several classics of Vietnamese literature into the twenty-first century including ‘Floating Dumplings’ by feminist poet Ho Xuan Huong, Vu Trong Phung’s satire of French colonialism Dumb Luck, Nguyen Du’s epic account of fate and sacrifice ‘The Tale of Kieu’ and the proclamations of Ho Chi Minh. These novellas reveal the deepest sentiments of Vietnamese youth as they – like youth everywhere – come of age, fall in love and contest their destiny.

The ebook can be downloaded for free from

About the event 

The book will be launched by David Adams, formerly of the ANU Department of Political Science.

Guests will enjoy a free Vietnamese breakfast over Vietnamese pop music and photography. Speeches will begin at 8.30am and food and books will be available until 9.30am.

The event is sponsored by ANU Press.

Signed hard copies will be available.

About the author

In 2011 Kim Huynh returned to Vietnam having left more than three decades earlier. He had few plans other than to experience as much of his birthplace as possible. That year he came into contact with a wide range of people and took on many trades.

Kim drank and dined with government officials, went on pilgrimages with corporate tycoons and marched in the streets against foreign aggression. He sold sticky rice, was a tennis player and also a ball boy, attended all manner of rituals and celebrations, eavesdropped on people in cafes and restaurants, and went back to the classroom as both a student and a teacher. Rich in detail and broad in scope, these tales capture Kim’s experiences and imaginings of Vietnam as if…. 

Kim teaches international relations at The Australian National University. He has written an account of his parents’ lives during and after the Indochinese Wars entitled Where the Sea Takes Us: A Vietnamese-Australian Story (HarperCollins 2007) and is the co-author of Children and Global Conflict (Cambridge University Press 2015).

This is his and ANU Press’ debut work of fiction.


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