The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang

The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang
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The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang is the story of the author’s family, who are Hmong refugees from Laos. The book chronicles their journey to America and their struggles to adjust to their new home. The book is both a personal story and a history of the Hmong people. It is an important work that gives a voice to a often-marginalized community.

A Hmong Family’s Journey from Laos to America

The Latehomecomer is a 2008 book by Kao Kalia Yang that tells the story of her Hmong family’s journey from Laos to America. It details their experiences in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and their resettlement in Minnesota.

The book begins with a brief history of the Hmong people, tracing their origins to the mountainous region of southwestern China. In the 18th century, conflict in China forced many Hmong to migrate to Laos, where they settled in the highlands. For centuries, the Hmong maintained a largely isolated existence, until the onset of the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

The war brought upheaval to Laos, as American forces sought to disrupt the flow of supplies from communist North Vietnam to the Vietcong in South Vietnam. The Hmong, who were traditionally hostile to the Vietnamese, were recruited by the CIA to help in this effort. This led to increased tensions between the Hmong and their Vietnamese neighbors, which ultimately resulted in violence and suffering for both groups.

Following the war, the Hmong found themselves caught between the communist governments of Laos and Vietnam. Many were forced to flee their homes, seeking refuge in Thailand and other countries. In the 1980s, a large number of Hmong began to resettle in the United States, eventually making their way to Minnesota.

The Latehomecomer chronicles Yang’s family’s experiences during and after the war, as they navigated the difficult transition from their traditional way of life to their new home in America. It is an intimate and moving portrait of a family struggling to find their place in a world that is often unfamiliar and hostile.

The book has been praised for its insights into the Hmong experience, as well as its depiction of the strength and resilience of the human spirit. It is an important addition to our understanding of the history of Southeast Asia and the immigrant experience in America.

Finding a Voice”: Why “The Latehomecomer” Matters

It’s been nearly ten years since “The Latehomecomer” was published, and the novel continues to resonate with readers. Why does it matter? In a nutshell, “The Latehomecomer” matters because it gives a voice to those who often go unheard.

The novel tells the story of Lia Lee, a Hmong girl who immigrates to the United States with her family in the late 1970s. Lia and her family struggle to adjust to their new life in America, and Lia eventually falls ill with epilepsy. The novel chronicles Lia’s life from her early childhood up until her death at the age of twenty-one.

“The Latehomecomer” is important because it gives a voice to the Hmong community. Prior to the publication of “The Latehomecomer,” there were very few books that told the story of the Hmong people. “The Latehomecomer” is one of the first novels to give readers a glimpse into the lives of this often-misunderstood community.

The novel is also important because it challenges the idea of the “model minority.” The model minority myth is the belief that all Asian Americans are successful, well-educated, and hardworking. This myth is damaging because it perpetuates the idea that Asian Americans are somehow “different” or “other.”

“The Latehomecomer” challenges the model minority myth by showing the realities of life for many Hmong Americans. The novel shows that not all Asian Americans are successful or well-educated. It also shows that many Hmong Americans face significant challenges in their lives.

Overall, “The Latehomecomer” is an important novel because it gives a voice to those who often go unheard. It is a powerful story that challenges the damaging myths about Asian Americans.


Kao Kalia Yang’s The Latehomecomer is an important contribution to the growing body of literature on the Hmong experience in America. It is a powerful and moving account of one family’s journey from their war-torn homeland of Laos to their new home in Minnesota. The book provides a rare glimpse into the lives of the Hmong people, and the challenges they face in adjusting to life in a new country. It is an essential read for anyone interested in learning more about the Hmong experience in America.