As Vietnam was caught in wartime narrative austerity from the 1950s to the 1970s, followed by the communist state’s intolerance of dissent, Vietnamese writers in the French and American diaspora have offered literary texts that challenge both Vietnamese discursive stricture and dominant perspectives in France and the United States. This essay studies two novel sequences from the diasporic Vietnamese literary archive: Vietnamese French author Ly Thu Ho’s trilogy and Vietnamese American writer Lan Cao’s pair of historical novels. Taking a historicist approach, the essay reveals complex nationalist expressions, aspirations, challenges, and desires in Ly Thu Ho’s and Lan Cao’s works of fiction.

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