The Land South of the Clouds by Genaro Ky Ly Smith
It is the summer of 1979 - the year of Apocalypse Now, long lines at the gas pumps, and American hostages in Iran - and our 10-year-old narrator, Long-Vahn, is burdened with the secret his mother, Vu-An, entrusted him to keep: not to tell anyone of her desire to return to Vietnam to be with her father who is serving hard labor in a re-education camp.
As a con lai - half Vietnamese, half black - Long-Vahn struggles to see his place in "Asia Minor," an enclave of Los Angeles comprised of veterans and their foreign war wives. He sees his inability to speak or read his mother's language, or even maneuver chopsticks properly, as flaws, and that if he can compensate for them, his mother will stay in America and keep the family intact.
The Land South of the Clouds serves as a companion piece to The Land Baron's Sun: The Story of Ly Loc and His Seven Wives. It is the story of immigrant families meshing into the fabric of American culture, their memories of the old country weighing on their conscience and the repercussions they feel even from thousands of miles away on another continent, another world, another life.