Why did Kim Thúy leave Vietnam?

Kim Thúy Ly Thanh is a renowned Vietnamese-born Canadian writer, who has captivated readers with her evocative storytelling.

Thúy’s literary prowess is deeply intertwined with her personal journey—a journey marked by resilience, migration, and the pursuit of a new life.

At the tender age of ten, Kim Thúy embarked on a life-altering voyage, leaving her homeland of Vietnam alongside her parents and two brothers.

Their departure was part of a massive exodus of Vietnamese boat people, a diaspora triggered by the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the ensuing challenges of the country’s communist regime. Over a million individuals, like the Thúy family, sought refuge in the wake of political upheaval.

The Thúy family’s odyssey led them to a refugee camp in Malaysia, overseen by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. For four months, they navigated the uncertainties and challenges of life in the camp.

It was during this period that a Canadian delegation recognized the linguistic proficiency of Thúy’s parents in French—an observation that would significantly shape their destiny.

In late 1979, the Thúy family’s narrative took a pivotal turn as they arrived in Granby, nestled in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Subsequently, they found a home in Montreal, a city known for its rich cultural tapestry and welcoming ethos.

The relocation marked the beginning of a new chapter for Kim Thúy, one where she would not only adapt to a new country but also cultivate her identity as a Canadian with Vietnamese roots.