After the fall of South Vietnam, fourteen-year-old Mai, a young Vietnamese girl of Chinese descent, is torn from a life of privilege and forced to flee across the South China Sea in the hold of a fishing trawler. Mai finds tenuous safety in a refugee camp on an island off the coast of Malaysia, where a greedy relative called Small Auntie offers her a place to stay—but her hospitality isn’t free. With her father’s words “You must survive” echoing in her ears, Mai endures the hardships of the camp, which are tempered only by her dreams of being sponsored by her uncle for entry into America. But when an accident forces Mai to leave the safety of Small Auntie’s family, she meets Kien, a half-American boy who might be the only person who can keep her alive until she’s sent to the United States. Coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the fall of Saigon, Out of the Dragon’s Mouth is a poignant look into life ripped apart by the ravages of war.
About the Author(s)
Joyce Burns Zeiss (Chicago, IL) has always wanted to be a writer. After retiring from teaching junior high school, she became a member of the Off Campus Writers Workshop in Winnetka, Illinois. Her experiences resettling a Chinese Cambodian refugee family in 1979 and her subsequent trips to work in refugee camps in Africa fueled her interest in the plight of the refugee. Her first novel, Out of the Dragon’s Mouth, is based on the true-life experiences of a fellow teacher who fled Vietnam as an adolescent to cross the South China Sea in the hold of a fishing boat. To learn more, visit her website at www.joyceburnszeiss.com.