I am aware that in writing about modern-day Vietnam I am engaging on a potentially perilous political journey. Though I rarely engage with questions of politics in my books, the fact is that any mention of Vietnam is likely to draw forth the condemnation of overseas-Vietnamese communities who are still angry about the present-day regime in Vietnam, and think that no-one should go there until democracy is restored.
These communities are present in large numbers in the USA, Canada and Australia, and in some cases wield real political power in their new homes. They have also been the source of some ugly cases of harassment, violence and intimidation.
What I want to say is that my book is a reasonably light-hearted travel piece, in which I barely discuss the war, politics, colonialism, globalisation or any of those other careworn topics that people tend to have firm opinions about. My book is instead about people, and about relationships.
So leave me alone!
1 hour ago