Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls
The novel spans the period from 1975 to the present day. Two children and their families become the victims of persecution when the Communists take Phnom Penh and Saigon. Three years later, they meet in a refugee camp in Malaysia where the boy, Quan, becomes the protector of his adopted sister Minh Chau. More
The lives of eight-year-old Quan Phoc in Phnom Penh and two-year-old Minh Chau Thieu in Saigon change radically when the two cities fall to the Communists in 1975. The Khmer Rouge send Quan’s family to a collective farm in the distant countryside. Minh Chau’s family attempts unsuccessfully to flee Saigon. Her father, a South Vietnamese army officer is sent to a re-education camp and the rest of the family is imprisoned
Both children escape Indochina in 1978, aided unexpectedly by the kindness of others. In Pulau Bidong camp in Malaysia, Quan becomes Minh Chau's protector, a role that he will play intermittently for the rest of his life. When Minh Chau's family is resettled in Canada, Quan is left behind. At that point, Quan's protector role passes temporarily to Mathieu Hibou, a soft-spoken university student from New Carlisle, Quebec.
Soldier, Lily, Peace and Pearls is a novel about how three individuals confront personal traumas throughout their lives, strengthen their personalities in different ways, and experience kindness as the noblest of human actions. It is also a story of personal growth—a voyage on troubled waters, with each seeing the others at times from a distance and then in the closest of relationships.