Thursday, August 28, 2008
The Hmong community is gradually making its way into the world of publishing. Y. Jenny Lo has now added her voice to the number of young Hmong people sharing their experiences with the world. Her book Husi: A Clouded Future is Still Translucent follows a fictional Husi through her experiences in Southeast Asia.
As a child Husi sees her family killed. The book follows her transformation from a, "scared and traumatized little girl to a beautiful and strong young woman." While she plans revenge she "learns how to forgive and love."
While Lo is clear that, "This book is fictional, it's all in my imagination. There were no personal experiences of myself or any living person in my novel. All the events were created to make the book more interesting." She adds that, "I believed my book represents a lot of the Hmong people. In some ways, we experienced similar hard times (but not all of them), separation from loved ones, and loneliness in a new world."
Lo was born in Long-Cheng and like many of her generation experienced early childhood in a refugee camp. At the age of 11 she came to the U.S. with her family. She recalls that learning English was very difficult for her, "It was like placing a baby in six grade. I had to start from scratch-learning my ABC's and 123's." However she excelled and is now writing whole books in English.
Husi is written in a narrative fashion, alternating between Husi directly speaking to the reader and the reader "looking in" on the events happening around Husi.
After trying her hand at fiction Lo plans to incorporate more personal experiences into her next novel, "I have a rough draft of my next novel which will be based on my life experiences as a war-child. I want my children and the next Hmong generation to know where we (the first Hmong immigrants) came from and how hard it was for us to get to where we are today. The draft (as of now) is entitled, 'The Crying River'."
Lo has experienced a lot of support within her family, "My family has been extremely supportive. Writing this book has been a long, and difficult experience for all of us, and they were very patient with me." However Lo knows very few people in the larger Hmong Community know about her book yet. But she hopes that, "they will support my writing. Writing has been a long time dream. I want to share my gifts as a writer. I hope every reader will be inspired by my book (Husi) to live their lives to the fullest and to accept who you are."
Lo is also the author of a children's book entitled Disobedient Ducklings. She lives in Bethel, MN. For more information on purchasing her books go to www.outskirtspress.com/husi or http://www.amazon.com/