Vientiane is a sad story indeed. It is so sad and blue that I do not know what to say. I want to cry, but tears do not want to flow out, at least to purge this sadness from my soul. This is the first time I have read a novel of this type, in which nothing is implicit, everything is there up on the surface. I feel sorry for the girls, I feel sorry for the Vietnamese, I feel sorry for the narrator, for M, and for AA.
I really respect courage and honesty of this book. The writer tries to report what happens without distorting the truth in any way. This `abrupt journey' brought about a new person: someone fully aware, conscious of the painful life that women face when obliged to live under such circumstances. I am inclined to think of Vientiane as a story about the coming of age of the human soul.
The writing style is great. I was like Mr Lam San, writing down every new word or expression. I laughed at myself when I wrote down the opposites of `open conflict' exactly as he did! --Review
From the Back Cover
It was not as large as I had expected, just one street no more than 50 yards long, including maybe 15 brothels. And the women, to be cruelly honest, were mediocre, much like the piteous wretches in the window boxes in Bangkok. As we pulled up halfway along, I was already planning the next stop at the Intercontinental ― when the headlights caught the glinting eyes of a girl of exceptional beauty...