Everyone knows I love travel as much as I love books. In 2014 I was fortunate enough to spend three weeks visiting Lao, Vietnam and Cambodia so when C.L. Hoang’s Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees was offered to me for an honest review I couldn’t resist despite promising myself I wouldn’t take on any more books. In fact, the lanterns on my Goodreads profile are those C.L. Hoang has himself photographed in Hoi An.
My photo of paper lanterns in Hoi An
Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees is available for purchase in e-book from your local Amazon site.
Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees
Have you ever wondered what Vietnam is like some forty years after the war has ended? Then come along with the author as he returns to visit his ancestral homeland for the first time after a decades-long absence.
Retrace his steps with him around his former hometown of Saigon in the south, and then follow him along on an itinerary of discovery to other unique destinations throughout the country: Hoi-An, the best-preserved medieval seaport in Southeast Asia; Hue, the ancient capital of imperial Vietnam, on the central coast; Halong Bay, a world-renowned natural wonder; and Hanoi, the country’s thousand-year-old capital, in the north.
Filled with historical and cultural tidbits and personal reminiscences, and illustrated with over forty photographs, Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees offers the reader an insightful and fascinating glimpse of this tropical land.
My Review of Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees
After years away from his native Vietnam C.L Hoang finds much has chanced and much has stayed the same.
I thoroughly enjoyed this intimate travelogue. I was captivated from the first few pages as C.L. Hoang arrives at the hotel where we had breakfast on the first morning of our trip, The Hotel Continental. Indeed, C.L.Hoang visits so many of the places I’ve been that I felt truly transported back to the trip I took. I think I must have stood in the same spot to take many of the same photographs and these images add to the reader’s understanding of Vietnam as a country as well as providing visual enhancement to the text.
Whilst I think I particularly enjoyed Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees because I did have a knowledge of so many of the settings, I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been to Vietnam would be disappointed either. Certainly this is a personal journey, but it is also an excellent travelogue. C.L. Hoang writes with incredible perception and an easy, fluid style that makes it feel as if he is chatting with the reader about his trip rather than writing about it. The present tense adds to a sense of immediacy so that the book feels very fresh as well as being highly entertaining. It is impossible not to see the places he describes in your mind’s eye even if you haven’t visited personally.
Aside from the personal diaried entries, Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees provides considerable narrative texture through the political, geographical and historical detail that is woven throughout. This is a book any traveller – real or virtual – can immerse themselves in and enjoy. As the author himself says, ”There’s still so much of the country to explore and enjoy‘ and having read Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees I really want to return to Vietnam. Smashing stuff.
About C. L. Hoang
C. L. Hoang was born and raised in Vietnam during the war and moved to the United States in the 1970s. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and earns his living as an electronic engineer, with eleven patents to his name. Books, history, and travel are his hobbies. His first book, Once upon a Mulberry Field, is an award-winning novel set in Vietnam at the height of the war. It is followed by Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees, the travelogue of his recent return trip to the ancestral homeland.