Saturday, August 13, 2016
The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father by Kao Kalia Yang
From the author of The Latehomecomer, a powerful memoir of her father, a Hmong song poet who sacrificed his gift for his children's future in America
In the Hmong tradition, the song poet recounts the story of his people, their history and tragedies, joys and losses; extemporizing or drawing on folk tales, he keeps the past alive, invokes the spirits and the homeland, and records courtships, births, weddings, and wishes.
Following her award-winning book The Latehomecomer, Kao Kalia Yang now retells the life of her father Bee Yang, the song poet, a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by American's Secret War. Bee lost his father as a young boy and keenly felt his orphanhood. He would wander from one neighbor to the next, collecting the things they said to each other, whispering the words to himself at night until, one day, a song was born. Bee sings the life of his people through the war-torn jungle and a Thai refugee camp. But the songs fall away in the cold, bitter world of a Minneapolis housing project and on the factory floor until, with the death of Bee's mother, the songs leave him for good. But before they do, Bee, with his poetry, has polished a life of poverty for his children, burnished their grim reality so that they might shine.
Written with the exquisite beauty for which Kao Kalia Yang is renowned, The Song Poet is a love story -- of a daughter for her father, a father for his children, a people for their land, their traditions, and all that they have lost.
This was the third book that I read in a row that was so deep and sad and heart warming all in one! It was like a love poem from daughter to father and it really was beautiful.
I always find it so interesting to go back in time through a book and read about people's experiences. My heart aches when I read about war and loss. I get so emotional when I read about tough life situations! This book did all of that to me!
It is possible that I should have waited a little longer after reading The Song Poet before writing a review because I'm having a somewhat difficult time finding the words I want to say. I think I'm sill a bit emotional! Get it! Read it!
*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.