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Discussion Questions

  • Did you identify with Vi? Her family?
  • What passages from Vi resonated with you, touched you?
  • Did the short chapters make your reading easier or more difficult?
  • How does Vi look like her mother and Ha?
  • How does Vi reflect the definition of her name in Vietnamese, and how does she not?
  • Gastronomy is present throughout the story. What do you think of the role and
    symbolism of cooking in this novel? Did it make you hungry for Vietnamese food?
  • The character of Vi has travelled a lot in this story. Which of the many places stood out to you the most, and how?
  • Why did the author have Vi travel to different places, including Vietnam?
  • What did you learn about Vietnamese history and culture?
  • What did you learn about being a refugee in exile?
  • What stood out about VI’s life in Quebec and her impressions?
  • What did you think were the most successful and least successful parts of this book?
  • What do you think of the ending? Did the beginning give you a sense of it?

Amnesty International Book Club Discussion Questions

  • What did you think of Vi? Which aspects did you appreciate, and which aspects were most challenging?
  • The deep subject of Vi is what Thúy calls “the invisible strength” of women, especially Vietnamese women, whose men, during the war, made a more obvious display of strength as soldiers. Do you agree with the author? What aspects of the story made you see “the invisible strength” of women?
  • Has this booked inspired you to think about the refugee narrative? For example in the media versus when you read this story about a family fleeing their home to make a home in Quebec?
  • What risks would you be prepared to take to save your life?

We are grateful to Laval Public Library, Longueuil Public Library and Amnesty International Book Club for providing us with such a rich resource.