Strom, Dao 1973-

views updated

STROM, Dao 1973-


Born 1973, in Saigon (now Ho Chi Mihn City), South Vietnam; daughter of a writer and journalist. Education: Attended Iowa Writers' Workshop.


Home—Austin, TX. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Houghton Mifflin, 222 Berkeley, Boston, MA 02116-3764.


Novelist and author of short fiction.


James Michener fellowship; Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren award; recipient of several grants.


Grass Roof, Tin Roof, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.

Contributor of short fiction to Chicago Tribune and to literary magazines and anthologies.


First-time novelist Dao Strom was born in Saigon, South Vietnam, in 1973, but was taken to the United States two years later when her mother fled the country. Her father stayed in Vietnam and was later incarcerated by the communist regime. In Strom's 2003 novel Grass Roof, Tin Roof, she fictionalizes the experiences of her mother, a noted Vietnamese journalist who, forced to flee her native land, finds a new family and faces a new set of challenges in the United States. Praising the author for her "spare, matter-of-fact prose," a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that, despite a slowing in the novel's narrative pace and a confusing story line, "Strom shows promise."

Grass Roof, Tin Roof fictionalizes not only the life of Strom's mother, but its author's own experiences as a child of the Vietnam War coming of age in 1980s America. In the novel, Trinh Ahn Tran finds her outspoken newspaper columns soon attract the attention of the Vietnamese government, and she decides to leave her husband and job behind her when the chance to take her two young children on board a U.S. airlift is offered her. Although no longer threatened by the government, Trinh finds a new source of worry in her second husband, a cold-hearted Dane who marries her shortly after her arrival in Sacramento, California. Strom's novel incorporates multiple points of view, and the story eventually shifts from that of the mother to the experiences of the children, Thuy, Thien, and Beth, as they grow up in a new culture and deal with an abusive father who is left to raise the children on his own after Trinh's death from tuberculosis. Calling Grass Roof, Tin Roof "unusually fragmented …[but] always engrossing," a Kirkus Reviews commentator praised the novel for portraying the "aching sense of rootlessness" experienced by its young protagonists.



Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2002, review of Grass Roof, Tin Roof, p. 1729.

Library Journal, November 1, 2002, Shirley N. Quan, review of Grass Roof, Tin Roof, p. 130.

Publishers Weekly, January 13, 2003, review of Grass Roof, Tin Roof, p. 41.*