Putsata Reang with Susan Lieu
We are excited beyond words to be helping, with our friends at The Seattle Public Library, and other community cohorts, to be helping celebrate the publication of Seattle journalist Putsata Reang’s magnificent Ma and Me: A Memoir (MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux) at Seattle Central Public Library this evening. This brilliant, searching, telling book of coming of age, growing into adult life as a child who is herself a refugee from Cambodia and strife there, who is very much part of a family and culture, yet caught in the dynamics of change, distance, adaptation, and adherence to customs and patterns there have been in life. The part of hard work, application, connecting here and in Cambodia with past and present, all the while being part of a family, becoming a part of things in the US, schooling, working - and Putsata Reangs’s own coming to know herself being queer - what that means within her family, and for her life: these are just some of what Putata Reang brilliantly limns in this heart-making book.
“A book as close to perfect as any I have read in many years. Lyrical, emotional, and profoundly moving, Ma and Me is in equal parts a love story between a mother and her daughter, and a family’s tale of survival, war, and the inherited traumas. I read Ma and Me in two days, and that is only because I forced myself to slow down to savor Putsata Reang’s sharp, poetic prose.”—Loung Ung.
“At a time when there are more refugees than ever in history, and borders are places of violence and cruelty, two essential stories of our time converge in Ma and Me: Americanization’s multigenerational costs, and the way this converges with lesbian life. Putsata Reang expands both literatures with this openhearted memoir that grapples emotionally and historically with the profound consequences of displacement on future lives and relationships. A book that opens the door to include queer descendants of war survivors into the growing American library of love.”—Sarah Schulman.
Joining the program this evening with Putsata Reang will be Vietnamese-American Seattle playwright, performer, and producer Susan Lieu, who herself has a memoir coming from Celadon Books in early 2023.
This ive/in-person program, with streaming in addition, at Seattle Central Public Library is co-presented by The Seattle Public Library and Elliott Bay Book Company, in partnership with Hedgebrook and Friends of Little Saigon.