Lao Roots

I’m trying to make a list of interesting Lao related books to read in my spare time. I used to read a great deal in my younger years. Then once I started the university I didn’t have much time to read for fun anymore since I was juggling between full time study and 32 hours work week. Being over here didn’t help much since my free time is devoted to all my sites. The only reading I do is online news. A few weeks ago I decided to make a list of Lao related books so I can put them on my “wish list” so I can enjoy later.

Lao Roots: Fragments of a Nordic-Lao Family Saga by Fleur Brofos Asmussen has caught my attention. The book is based on the life of the author and her quest for long lost relatives in Laos. Starting in 1967, the author and her sister began their search for “the descendants of their grandmother, Sao Boun Ma.” I can see Nye and Salat running to the book store for their very own copy of Lao Roots already.

Lao Roots

Book Details:

ISBN: 9748299279
Publisher: White Orchid Press
Published: 1997
Languages: English
Pages: 260

Lao Roots description:

In 1990 the author travelled to Laos to find her relatives still living there. For years she and her sister had sought the descendants of their grandmother, Sao Boun Ma. These Laotian relatives were finally found in Vientiane. The search revealed a complex and fantastic story. The Norwegian grandfather, Peter Hauff, who died in 1951, left a long account of his experiences as a trader in Indo-China (1890-1928) with a number of hitherto unknown photographs of Laos and Cambodia/Vietnam. Nowhere did he mention the Laotian mother of one of his daughters, and the Vietnamese mother of the other. Shortly after his son drowned and the premature death in Laos of his equally fantastic Swiss business partner, Hans Faesh, the energetic Peter Hauff left for Europe in 1905 with his two daughters. He married a woman probably not of his choice, and returned to Vietnam to continue trading. He eventually settled in France, and died there, never having seen again his Sao Boun Ma whom he described in a note shortly before his death as “the honest and faithful”.

For more information, please see Lao Roots Book Review.

7 Comments

  1. Hehehe, you know me better than I do, and thanks for telling me about this book, great catching title Btw.  😉  I’ll definitely get me a copy of Lao Roots; I also like to read book relating to Laos, it bought back many of my childhood memories.

  2. Hi! I enjoy reading your blog. Especially when you blog about Laos and post up pictures. Hopefully I can save up enough money to go this year. By the way, my name is Ashlie (Ash for short). It’s nice meeting you, and hope you don’t mind if I add you to my page. Keep up with the great blogs!

  3. Hey there Nye,

    I thought of you and Salat when I read the description of the book. It seemed like something that you girls would like to read.

    What a title eh? I didn’t post it at Lao Voices because there might be a bit of confusion. 🙂

  4. Hi Ashlie,

    Nice to meet you and thanks for being a fan of my site. Now I feel a bit of pressure to produce. Thanks for the link, I shall return the same kindness.

    I hope you will be able to go to Laos. Getting there is quite expensive. Staying there is not too bad if you spend your money wisely. From what I’ve known with my parents and relatives, going to Laos can add up to more than $10,000 in spending money while in Laos for a month because of so many relatives and having to hand out money. $50 to nieces and nephews and $100 to older people can really add up. 10 adults and there goes $1,000 in 5 minutes. Going to Laos for many of us is not a vacation but more like saving for 5 years and then to go see your relatives and friends and taking care of them.

    I’m trying to go back to Laos as well later this year. Maybe we can meet and have a meal together along the Mekong River. 🙂

  5. Hi DJ,

    I totally agree with you when you say going to Laos can be expensive because you’re handling out money to relatives. My dad went a few years back and he actually did end up spending $10,000 in just a month stay. Not only did he handle out money to his relatives but decided to buy his parent’s a truck. Maybe you can give me some heads up on when is the best time to go, what to do/see.
    I’m totally down to hang out with you in Laos. Now that would be something! By the way, thanks for replying back to me. I’m off to work now..so have a good day! =)

  6. Hi Ashlie,

    Hope you don’t mind me calling you Ash, for short from now on. 🙂

    I’m happy to hear about your dad helping with his parents. Anything to help our relatives get a good start or catch up with others is good.

    Going to Laos depends on your preference, whether or not you can handle the hot weather during the wet season. Some people like to go to Laos during the new year in April, but it’s hot and humid. It can be harsh on you if you stay at a place with no AC.

    My parents tend to go to Laos in January/February because the relatives in the south are mostly farmers. We don’t want to bother our relatives too much when they are busy harvesting rice so we wait until the harvesting season is over. That way we can see all the relatives at once too since they are all done with the hard work and can take it easy.

    If you will spend a great deal of time in Vientiane, then around October and November is the best time to go. Then you can see the Boat Racing Festival in October and Boun That Luang in November.

    In January/February is the Wat Phou Festival in Champassak if you are looking for a big event to attend.

    You have to work during the weekend? Awww…poor you.

  7. Hello, what did you think of the book? the Lao family in this book is actually my in-laws (family). they are listed on the family time line/tree in the back of the book and some of them are pictured in the book too. I read the book 10 years ago when I first found out about it, I have the book displayed in my living room, seeing this post is making me want to reread it now.

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