Kim Huynh’s New Book “Vietnam as if… Tales of Youth, Love and Destiny”

Author Kim Huynh has debuted his first work of fiction, Vietnam as if…Tales of youth, love and destiny; a collection of novellas focusing on life in Vietnam.  


Vietnam as if...


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.

Vietnam as if… is available as a free ebook at

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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 Huynh’s accounts of social life in Vietnam never back away from difficult topics and themes. Importantly, he neither exoticises his birthplace nor commoditises himself in crafting this exceptional work of Vietnamese diasporic writing.
— Mariam Lam, University of California Riverside

These portraits offer a confronting vision of a society that’s surging in many, often contradictory, directions. The Vietnamese brought to life in these pages represent a generation of youth who are ambitious and idealistic, but also insecure and aloof. Imaginative, well-researched and intricately crafted, this work should be read by anyone who is studying or travelling to Vietnam.
— Philip Taylor, The Australian National University


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Kim Huynh 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). Vietnam as if… is his and ANU Press’ debut work of fiction.

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