THE OPPOSITE OF HATE explores the intersections of family, loyalty, and nationalism as Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is being taken over by Communists. The political instability drives Seng, a widowed engineer, to marry his best friend’s teenage daughter, Neela, so they can escape re-education or even worse, death. The unlikely husband and wife cross the Mekong River into Thailand as strangers.
Life in the refugee camp brings surprises along with the grime. As they struggle for survival, romances blossoms into an unplanned pregnancy. Seng and Neela get their wish of immigrating to the United States. Succeeding in suburbia, however, presents another unique set of challenges, ones that are not black and white.
This is a tale of intermingled violence, love and ambition.
Seng and Neela embody the historic cultural struggle of thousands who fled the threats of communism only to face the challenges of democracy.
Sure now you can read it on a phone or a tablet or listen to it.
The essence of a story – This Happened to Me and Now You Are My Witness – that hasn’t changed from the original chats around cooking fires. That impulse to reach out and connect with someone else is as natural as the sound of our heartbeats. And what we gain by listening – well this is the part that gives me hope through our tumultuous geo-political present.
Reading historical fiction is a form of witness and that’s why the story at the heart of The Opposite of Hate is a tribute to all the people who were harmed in the unofficial war waged in Laos in the 1970s.