Stranger’s Guide: Vietnam takes us to the heart of this extraordinary place, which has quickly become a top destination for international travel. You’ll storm the streets in celebration of the country’s soccer team, and discover the ongoing debate over pho, the nation’s favorite dish. You’ll also witness quieter, more revealing moments: citizens who relied on their informal networks of friends (and friends-of-friends-of- friends) to get what they needed under COVID lockdown in Saigon, and domestic moments with members of Vietnam’s LGBTQ community, young and old, taking leisure time in their homes.
Throughout, you will have a window into daily life in a country that’s quickly taking its place on the global stage. But modern Vietnam emerged out of conflict and the echoes of division are also here. Hear the experiences of refugees, fighters and civilians during the Vietnam War, collected by Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen and his students. Meanwhile, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, author of The Mountains Sing, offers her family’s story of moving from North to South Vietnam after unification, while photographer Pipo Nguyen-duy explores childhood and conflict through his powerful images of children standing in sites destroyed by Agent Orange.
Featuring contributors: Paul Christiansen, Maika Elan, Kimberly Kay Hoang, Travis Hodges, Jonathan D. London, Nguyen Truong Quý, Nguyễn Nguyệt Cầm, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, Pipo Nguyen-duy, Aimee Phan, Gabriel Tan, Hieu Truong.
Before there were guidebooks, 18th- and 19th-century authors wrote “stranger’s guides” to cities and countries—pamphlets and books that combined helpful tips with particular and offbeat advice and context: the best boarding houses alongside bits of history, preferred brothels as well as facts about paleontology and poetry. They were personal, eccentric and intimate portrayals of place. Stranger’s Guide is a modern version of that idea.
Winner of 2021 National Magazine Awards for Photography and General Excellence in Literature, Science and Politics.