Landbridge: Life in fragments

Y-Dang Troeung
Publisher: Alchemy by Knopf Canada


Book Description

In 1980, Y-Dang Troeung and her family were among the last of the 60,000 refugees from Cambodia that then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau pledged to relocate to Canada. As the final arrivals, their landing was widely documented in newspapers, with photographs of the PM shaking Y-Dang’s father’s hand, reaching out to pat baby Y-Dang’s head. Forty years later, in her brilliant, astonishing book, Y-Dang returns to this moment, and to many others before and after, to explore the tension between that public narrative of happy “arrival,” and the multiple, often hidden truths of what happened to the people in her family.

In precise, beautiful prose accompanied by moving black-and-white visuals, Y-Dang weaves back and forth in time to tell stories about her parents and two brothers who lived through the Cambodian genocide, about the lives of her grandparents and extended family, about her own childhood in the refugee camps and in rural Ontario, and eventually about her young son’s illness and her own diagnosis with a terminal disease. Through it all, Y-Dang looks with bracing clarity at refugee existence, refusal of gratitude, becoming a scholar, and love.

Author Bio

Y-Dang Troeung was Assistant Professor of English at the University of British Columbia, where she did research and taught in the fields of transnational Asian literatures, critical refugee studies, global south studies, and critical disability studies. She was also an Associate Editor of the journal Canadian Literature, and a 2020 Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. Her recent publications can be found in Canadian Literature, Brick: A Literary Magazine, Amerasia Journal, and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. Y-Dang passed away in November 2022, after completing the final draft of her extraordinary memoir, Landbridge.