Written by Lan Cao, The Lotus and the Storm is a novel about war and its casualties. On one level, it chronicles the downfall of a country marred by political intrigue and ravaged by a war fought on its land but controlled and managed elsewhere. On a more personal level, it is a deeply intimate story about love and longing, deception and betrayal, and trauma and madness. But most of all, it is about loss of country and the deep imprints this loss has on its children’s lives, in ways that ripple across time and space.
The novel tells the story of a family whose lives are inextricably bound to and altered by the tragic events that led to the fall of Saigon. The chapters alternate between the life of a once decorated soldier, now weak and ailing, in his home in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. and that of his daughter, Mai, who grew up in Saigon’s twin city, Cholon.