What would you risk to save your children?
Jolie Phuong Hoang grew up as one of ten children, part of a loving, prosperous Vietnamese family. All that changed after the communists took over in 1975. Identified as a potential “bad element,” the family lived in constant fear of being sent to the dreaded new economic zone.
Desperate to ensure the family’s safety and to provide a future for his children, Jolie’s father arranged three separate escapes. The first was a failure that cost most of their fortune, but the second was successful—six of his children reached Indonesia and ultimately settled in Canada. He and his youngest daughter drowned during the disastrous third attempt. Told from the author’s perspective and that of her father’s ghost, Three Funerals for My Father is a poignant story of love, grief and resilience that spans three countries and fifty years.
In an era when anti-Asian racism is on the rise and the issue of human migration is front-page news, Three Funerals for My Father provides a vivid and timely first-hand account of what it is like to risk everything for a chance at freedom. It is at once an intimate story of one family, a testament to the collective experience of the “boat people” who escaped communist Vietnam, and a plea on behalf of the millions of refugees currently seeking asylum across the globe.
About the author
As a teenager, Jolie P. Hoang escaped from Vietnam with her siblings. Arriving in Canada in 1984, she finished high school and trained in mathematics, all the while retaining her love of writing. Her work has been recognized by the North Street Book Prize (Winner, Literary Fiction, 2020), the San Francisco Book Festival (Honourable Mention, 2020) and the Surrey International Writers Festival (Finalist, 2020). A college professor of mathematics, Jolie lives with her daughters in Fonthill, Ontario.
Three Funerals for My Father is the powerful story of a family’s journey from Vietnam to Canada, lyrically told in three distinct voices. It is at once a heart-wrenching memoir and a reckoning of sorts—an unflinching view of the peril and terrible costs to one family making a journey as refugees to an unfamiliar land, uncertain of their welcome . . . Intimate and unforgettable. K.C. DYER