Reader comments

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Amazing journey!

I found myself getting caught up in this book in a good way. I found it helped me understand the struggles that immigrants have trying to get a better life. I felt impelled to keep reading to the end and hope there is a second one coming. Very good book well worth reading.

April 16, 2018

Can’t wait for the movie!

Thank you Thien for sharing your story, it was a great read.

December 19, 2017

Brave and timeless memoir

The Other Side of the Sun is both a beautiful and harrowing novel that is guaranteed to stay in your heart well after you finish its last page. The author’s detailed descriptions of his traumatic experiences bring to light the true horrors of the refugee story which are often overlooked in news reports and articles. Many of us will never know what it feels like to endure starvation or lose hope of survival, but his story at least shows us what it felt like for him. As distant as his experiences as a refugee may seem from our lives of comfort and safety, the lessons in this novel of love, loss, and hope will resonate with all readers, no matter their life experiences. I believe this powerful story is a must read for all Canadian adolescents.

Having to endure the experiences the author did as a teenager is beyond my comprehension, but it is a reality we must face. Millions of refugees today are children, and their stories should never be forgotten. The Other Side of the Sun does not let us forget this population. This novel reminds us to not take for granted the life that so many refugees have fought hard to win, and that some never got the chance to achieve.

Many thanks to the author for writing this brave and timeless memoir.

Tarini Fernando
October 21, 2017

Amazing read

It’s one of those that you just have to keep reading page by page until your finished. It’s truly amazing the struggles and how he makes you feel as if you were there with him….When I sat down it was one of the most amazing books I have ever read. An excellent read for everyone regardless of your taste.


Christine Clark
August 16, 2017

It touched my heart

Reading through the pages made me feel like I was there too and it touched my heart.

Cynthia Speelman
August 11, 2017

Very powerful read

I loved this book; it gave a true face and voice to the struggles refugees endure to get to a safe place. I loved the often poetic nature of his vivid descriptions, painfully sad in places but able to convey a story of immense courage and perseverance. I want to hear more about what happened next.

Eleanor Myron
April 10, 2017

This memoir increased my knowledge & compassion for refugees.

I appreciated reading a personal perspective on the very real human drama of the Vietnamese Boat People. Tang’s poignant story increased my knowledge & compassion for refugees. His words are telling and poetic. It tugged at my heart-strings.

A must read.

Karen Forrest, bestselling author Angel Lady of the Maritimes
April 2, 2017

Genuine point of view of a refugee escaping from the ravages of a war torn land.

An first hand account of the experiences of a family from south-east Asia afloat on a derelict old boat on their way to a better life… somewhere. A timely and poignant story of the plight of being a refugee in a world attempting to justify its own sense of righteousness.

James Sawada, author Once A Proud Canadian
March 25, 2017

I loved reading this book!

I loved reading this book! It was so easy for me to be taken back in time and have a glimpse at how Thien lived his early years. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone

March 10, 2017

Thank you for sharing

I loved the book from the moment I started to read. Couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for you and your family. It must have been very hard for you to have to remember those horrible times again, so you could write about them.

Nancy Leger
March 8, 2017

Real Life Courage and Resilience!

A Real life drama showing the courage and resiliency that is needed for refugees to start a new life in another country. This story is beautifully and compassionately written and compels the reader to understand on a deeper level what it takes to leave everything behind and begin again in a foreign country. A must read in today’s world!

Margaret Whitrow
February 21, 2017

So vivid, couldn’t put it down

I picked up the book yesterday to finally read it and I couldn’t put it down. The story was so vivid. I can’t believe what the author went through to finally arrive on PEI. It left the reader wanting more. Very brave to have had to relive the past to put it in writing.

I would recommend this book as a must read, especially in this period of our own history that is in the making with what is going on in the USA. Congratulations.

Cheryl Wenn
February 21, 2017

Well Done

I enjoyed the story. The book shows how hard and scary it is for families to make the decision to leave their homes for the unknown. I hope there is going to be a sequel about how Thien arrived in Canada, how he was excepted and how his family got reunited. I think this story would make for a great movie and would be a good book to use in our school system. Well done Thien.

Shawn MacPhee
February 15, 2017


This book truly makes you thankful for what most of us take for granted each day. What the author and his family endured at such an early age just to survive and make their dream come true is incredible. Hope there is a sequel.

Kevin MacEwen
February 15, 2017

Make a great movie

I enjoyed the book and feel it would make a great movie.

So many of us Westerners got the big picture but just breezed over the details of how lives were affected for so many people.

Mike Sullivan
February 8, 2017

Building Understanding

Thank you Thien for sharing your journey with the world, and for letting us inside the minds and hearts of your courageous family.

Joy Noonan
February 5, 2017

From the moment I started the first chapter, I was held captive by every word

From the moment I started the first chapter, I was held captive by every word. The emotion portrayed in this book through each sentence and paragraph is so very powerful. I am amazed by the strength of the human spirit which can endure such experiences and still go on to face the days ahead.

The story is well-written as you become engaged in the writer’s life, right from the beginning chapter. I didn’t want the book to end and would love to read a sequel to this journey.

Special thanks to the author who opened his heart to share his suffering; which, in turn, will impact every reader of this story to look at life with a new sense of gratefulness for the blessings in our daily life.

Marion Flood-Jones
January 24, 2017

A moving, inspiring story……

At once, heartbreaking and inspiring. The almost unbearable obstacles that Thien had to overcome speak volumes about his determination and will to survive. A well-written memoir about what it means to be a minority, and to be displaced, with no control over what your future holds. Every Islander should read this book. Thien’s journey is a real eye-opener. A minor miracle that he is indeed here, and living his fulfilling life.

Art O'Malley
January 21, 2017

It is an incredibly moving story

I really enjoyed reading The Other Side of the Sun. It is an incredibly moving story of love and loss, and what immigrants must leave behind when they leave their homes in search of a better life. The story transported me to Vietnam and to the plight of this young man and to what he and his family witnessed during the war, what they sacrificed to leave their homeland, and the loneliness and isolation that so many immigrants must feel.

I would highly recommend this memoir.

Laura Bain Christy
January 17, 2017

The most valuable gift we have to give each other is to share our stories

The Other Side of the Sun spoke to me very strongly of family ties. The love and care that Thien’s father had for his children and his great desire that they all “escaped” to the freedom of another world. I recognized, as I read this book, that I have lived a very sheltered life and even though I was involved as a volunteer when a “boat family” came to our community I was not aware of the difficulty they had endured. This is a story of love, endurance, hope, courage and the amazing ability for us humans to adapt in times of hardship and change in our lives. I was moved to tears many times as I read this story. When will we, the human race, learn that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all one! Thank you Thien for sharing your story. A good friend of mine told me many times that the most valuable gift we have to give each other is to share our stories.

Jean Sullivan
January 14, 2017

What a great story, well written

I think it took me about 2 days to read this book. From the moment I first started reading it, I found it hard to put down. Thien has lived quite a journey. For someone with english as a second language, you wouldn’t know it when reading this book. I can tell that he has put a lot of time and effort into making this a great read. I have been recommending this book to almost anyone who will listen to me and will continue to do so. Makes me think about the many refugees in our great country and how many have similar stories.

Philip Sullivan
January 13, 2017

a beautifully-written story of anguish and hope…every Islander should read

Those of us born on PEI, know nothing of the struggle and challenges refugees have faced to make our Island their new home. The Other Side of the Sun is a beautifully written story of one person’s journey to this place. It is a story that is full of both hope and despair. Thien’s courage and resilience in the face of adversity along with his good humour and kindness are the very reasons why our province and our country are so much richer from our history of welcoming new Canadians.

At a time when national discussion of some political leaders seek to make enemies out of immigrants, Thien’s story is a compelling one.

January 13, 2017


Thank you for sharing with your readers what your life was like before and during your harrowing journey to your new homeland. I am so impressed with your very descriptive writing…I felt like I was looking over your shoulder during your youthful adventures as well as during your trying escape. To devote seven years of your life to writing this book is commendable.

I keep thinking about your book every day since I read it.

Judy Goodwin
January 10, 2017

the best book I have read in a long time

I have read The Other Side of the Sun and ABOUT ME. This is the best book I have read in a long time. It has a good balance of description and action that keeps the story interesting and moving at a good pace. I was very touched by the many difficulties that tested your inner strength and character. Your perseverance was amazing. You have certainly made your life count and have left your mark on all who read about your experiences. You must have made your father proud and you should be proud of what you have accomplished. Having read the ABOUT ME I wish your first years on P.E.I. had been easier and happier. Our first efforts sponsoring newcomers were very basic but have improved over the years. I’m saddened by the lack of basic necessities and the loneliness you faced while studying and trying to save money by working long hours to bring your family to Canada. The amazing thing is that you rose to the challenge and didn’t give up.

This is truly a wonderful story of determination, courage, and love.

Jean Gallant
January 9, 2017


I have recently finished reading The Other Side of the Sun and find it to be a very good description, albeit of a very difficult journey for the author and members of his family, from his life in Vietnam to one where he has the relative freedom to make a new life. Thien Tang gives us a picture of his family, of Chinese origins, living in Vietnam and the hardships that they have faced under a united Vietnam government. This book brings to the reader a view of the trials and hardships that immigrants have to face in order to obtain their freedom. While I usually do not like books that have flashbacks to previous times and events Thien Tang has used these quite skillfully to highlight the thoughts and sorrows that he has faced along his journey to Canada. I would recommend that anyone read this book especially those who regularly come in contact with other immigrants. Bravo Thien Tang for giving us such a finely sculpted picture of your journey to Prince Edward Island.

This would be an ideal topic for a movie.

Ernie Gallant
January 8, 2017

Very impressed

I very much liked the book.

I was transported to another place. The author’s memory has not dimmed but then why would such a traumatic experience leave one’s memory?

Irene MacIsaac
January 7, 2017

Awesome! Thank you for sharing!

My first reaction is that every Canadian should read this book – this story of leaving behind loved ones, living in the face of fear and the unknown – whether it was where the next meal would come from or with regards to personal safety or not even knowing what the future would hold. Bravo Thien Tang for putting it in words for us all to read and appreciate. He is an example of what makes this nation great – he is part of the intricate rich fabric that makes up this great nation. Thank you for sharing something so personal that has likely been sometimes very painful memories.

Joy MacFarlane
November 18, 2016

I absolutely adored this book!

I absolutely adored this book! I sat down to read it last night and finished it in one sitting. It was completely riveting. The things that the author and his family have had to endure. It is unimaginable.

Barb Stevenson
October 25, 2016


“The Other Side of the Sun” is an inspiring story about the strength of the human spirit! It shows you what is humanly possible, after one is separated from family and faces many losses. This story will resonate with every immigrant and refugee who has ever left their homeland.

Sally Cole, the Guardian
October 3, 2016

Compelling journey

It is hard to imagine that a human could possibly endure what these refugees came through. Changing their path in life they were compelled to take.

It is a good read!

Margaret MacKinley
September 11, 2016

Why we cannot turn a blind eye…

I agree with many of the comments others have made. The descriptions take you to another place and time. Very impressive for English being a second language (or a first!) The tenacity of the human spirit is amazing. I fear I would have given up. Although the author’s story has a “happy ending” I too was overwhelmed by the thoughts of the thousands who were cast out to sea or died in other sad and horrible ways. I love the suggestion that it be taught at school. I think the timing is right for that.

Please send a copy to our Prime Minister.

Joanne Schieck
September 7, 2016

A profound, passionate true story!

A profound, passionate true story depicting one refugee’s unbelievable journey to escape discrimination and cruelty within his beloved country. The author gives such vivid images of the beauty of the country he left behind and displays to the reader of the sacrifice, hardships, lost dreams endured by himself and that of his family also. Many times I would stop reading and ponder at the enormity of the experiences and emotions the author and his family had to endure. It brought tears to my eyes.

A well-timed, well-written book that begs attention in light of the plight of so many other refugees in the world today.

Rita DeHaan
August 31, 2016

Amazing read!

The Other Side of the Sun was an amazing read! The unbelieveable journey faced by this family left you feeling blessed for our country in which we live and yet heartbreaking to read about the many deprivations and difficulties this family and so many others encountered. I admire their courage and determination in starting a new life in a new country, new language, etc. The details/descriptions by the author made this book very interesting from start to finish!

Hard to put it down!

August 26, 2016

The Other Side of the Sun is a riveting refugee story

which began on the other side of the world and describes one family’s difficult journey from Vietnam to Canada. The book is very relevant and pertinent today with so many refugees still being displaced worldwide. It educates the reader of what life is truly like as a refugee and explores a family’s difficult choice of either facing the trauma of their son being forced to become a young soldier on the front lines of war or risk drowning while crossing the Bay of Thailand . How fortunate we are to live in a country like Canada without war!

Marsha Ford
August 24, 2016

Amazing Read

This book put me in another country. I felt like I was tagging behind watching from a distance the whole book. The descriptions of the scenery put me right there. The love that was shared and lost was heartbreaking. The torture and fear was made so evident. Loved this book and need to know where it takes all of them from there.

Donna Holmes
August 23, 2016

What a wonderful book and an incredibly interesting read

What a wonderful book and an incredibly interesting read.

It helped my understand the journey an immigrant faces. The author explains the trial and tribulations he faced with great vocabulary and detail.

Thank you for a beautiful book.

Betty Matheson, soon to be 91 years young
August 22, 2016

This book and the story is fascinating

I enjoy reading and this book and the story is fascinating. It helped me understand the difficulties an immigrant faces when trying to get into a country. I now have a different point of view and newfound knowledge about their experience.

Devon Green, 16 years old
August 22, 2016

I really enjoyed the book

I really enjoyed the book and I can’t wait to read the sequel. I need to find out what happened with all of the author’s friends and family.

Nicole Green, 14 years old
August 22, 2016

Along the Way The Author Grew Up


This book is a great read.

It runs together nicely and moves along quickly. It provides background that we all need to help understand how a refugee is made. It is of course, a story of survival, but along the way we realize that not all first choices are attainable, and we are products of necessity, compromise and environment.

Neil Shaw
August 21, 2016

A powerful story

This is one of the best books I have ever read. It’s difficult for me to put into words the effect this book has had on my outlook on life. It makes you realize how lucky some of us are to be born in a peaceful country while others must struggle so much for basic needs. It also shows you that gratitude and the appreciation for the small things in life can carry you through many difficult situations. The vivid imagery and powerful vocabulary transported me through Thien’s journey with beautiful detail and, at times, heartbreaking results. It is a must read and should be part of the school curriculum. I know my grade 7 classes will have a new “read-aloud” this year. Thank you Thien for sharing your story and I look forward to the sequel.

Rebecca Matheson
August 17, 2016

An exciting read

This memoir transported me to another world, one I knew almost nothing about. Just as he could never have imagined the severity of Canadian winters, I could not have conceptualized the dangerous conditions in the country from which the author escaped and so vividly described. Reading the pirate passage, I felt as if I were hovering over the boat, holding my breath at every threat.

A great story, deserving of a place on book stores’ shelves, offered on Amazon, etc.

Helen Pretulak, Author Final Farewell
August 16, 2016

I am very grateful for this book

Until the book, I didn’t really appreciate the full life experiences that helped shaped today’s Thien or that refugees in general go through in their struggles to escape death or torture in their home countries. We might think the story of refugees from Vietnam is “old news”, but refugees and their suffering are still very much with us. Maybe the details are a little different in 2016 but the miseries they go through are not dissimilar and their heroism in overcoming them is still remarkable. It is important for us all to better appreciate the life experiences of this group. Thien has done a great job in educating us and taking us there in his book. I am very glad Canada has welcomed Thien and others like him.

John Chelsey
August 15, 2016

Dear Author

I felt sorry for you because you seemed to be stuck in a difficult time of your life. You were always watching out for other people. Just escaping, getting shot at many times. You were too generous dividing the scraps of food for the others, as a result not much remained for yourself. You were always giving food to others, as a result you almost starved to death. God had a purpose for saving you from death many times. God bless your entire family. I think writing the book was a good idea because most people never heard of that part of the world. Most times on P.E.I. we have too much food. All Islanders should read the book and be thankful we have enough food.

Elinor Smith, Island Centenarian
August 15, 2016

A must read…

The heat, hunger, hopelessness Thien Tang expresses so vividly it seems the reader was there at the time but few of us have ever experienced the intensity of his kind of emotions and deprivations.

It is a credit to his faith and art that he wrote this inspiring book which in turn may help those who still suffer, perhaps not only from loss of country, which is tragic, but also other losses in life that tear at one’s soul and seemingly leave the heart leaking hope.

A must read for those wishing to find a way to understand those less fortunate and to serve as a reminder to be grateful to others who live a privileged life, free from want and censure.

Hillary Prince, Writer
August 5, 2016

Most Interesting Survival Saga I Have Read!

As an avid reader over my 80 years this was one of the most interesting survival saga reads I have come across. There is a possibility of another book, as the first 10 or so pages were filled with what most authors would use for several books. It was a hard book to put down, as I started reading, as I wanted to know what next? Gives you appreciation of the diversity of cultures and the how the world interacted in the past and how it relates to today’s world.

Buddy MacKinley
August 3, 2016

A Fascinating True Tale

Although I am well aware that the author survived his adventures to tell his story, still the detailed recounting of the trials of his journey left me stressed throughout the book, as I wondered how he could survive each horror.

He has an astounding gift for maintaining nervous tension and gripping the reader’s attention. Despite English being the author’s second language, his vocabulary in the descriptions of his natural surroundings and of the characters he knows and meets is eloquent and poetic.

Altogether an impressive and inspiring Book.

Florence Vos
August 3, 2016

The Other Side Of The Sun Will Worm Into Your Mind And Hang On

Prior to reading The Other Side Of The Sun, Vietnam was to me just a place where bad things happened to many people. The Vietnamese people were to me those unfortunates who experienced those bad things. By putting a human face on real tragedy and by detailing the incredible hardship endured just to survive, Thien Tang has written a book that affected me deeply. This intimate look into experiences that are at such a remove from my own, jarred my complacent view that ‘all is well in the world’. For him and his family ‘all was definitely not well’. Far from it. Their very lives were at extreme risk and it seemed as if the ‘luck of the draw’ would determine their survival.

The Other Side Of The Sun is one of those rare books that pop unbidden into your thoughts long after you have finished reading it.

August 2, 2016



August 2, 2016


One of those books that is hard to put down, and when you do you can hardly wait to pick it up again. This was a real eye opener as to what the refugees actually went through to take part in what we take for granted every day. The way the author describes things you are not just reading a book, you are taking the journey with them. There are times you feel like you are in a movie. IT IS THAT GOOD.

I would love to see this made into a movie.

Frankie Gallant
August 1, 2016

Could not put it down!!!!

Wonderfully written, powerful story. Could not put it down. I was taken to another place and time right from the start. Heart warming pleasure to read. A big thank you to the author for writing this book. Nancy Tawil. July 30, 2016

July 30, 2016

Not only is the heart a lonely hunter in seeking its source but eventually it finds its home.

Thien Tang takes the reader with him on a life or death journey seeking a place to be. The Other Side of the Sun is one of those rare books which, when one picks it up, one cannot put it down. On reading of the young Thien’s plight with fellow outcasts barely existing on a renege boat jammed to overflowing, one can only imagine the distress to learn that no country would allow the refugees boat to land on its shore. Yet in the face of this peril on the seas, Thien showed courage, fortitude, faith and love and sometimes even humour in his compelling bid to survive.

Doris Ewart
July 29, 2016

Worth the Read, Compelling Journey that Moves the Heart

I can only say “WOW”, what an incredible life journey. By my own recognition, I am not a reader at heart, but when I started to read this memoir I could not put it down. The vivid details throughout enable me to visualize all events, as if I were sitting in a movie theater watching it on the big screen. Pulling the reader in and keeping them engaged to learn more about the outcome of true life characters was well crafted from going back in the past and returning to the present. As one who has been lucky enough to be born and raised in Canada, this read left me with a sense of guilt, in that, the journey taken by Thien Tang and his family to achieve what I have taken for granted seems so unfair. To think that people in the situation of the Tang family continued on in believing in each other when faced with adversity is unimaginable by my standards. Becoming separated, as a family unit, and still having the courage and determination to carry on is a credit to the Tangs and all refugees of this time. This is a read that moved me emotionally and allowed me to reflect on what I have had in the past, present and future. “A well written memoir about a tough journey in one’s life and the obstacles that one had to face to achieve freedom.”

Darren Ford
July 28, 2016


To survive such hardships would tax any strong adult let alone a teenage boy. Those who complain about their hard life in Canada should read this book and take to heart the lessons therein.

George Dewar
July 27, 2016

Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down

Unlike any interesting novel, this one is the story of what really happened to him, to some members of his family and to the young members of the Vietnamese society. Not only does the author describe the painful memories of leaving his country and family, but he also shows us his courage in choosing to live in a completely different country with a foreign language and a new society.

His story pulls at the heartstrings of its readers. It tells of his challenges, his difficulties, but above all of his courageous choice of being able to live “free”. It shows us the hardships of leaving his family and friends! His memories will always be with him, and he is sharing them with us in the pages of this book.

Audrey Masselink
July 26, 2016

I have read a lot

I have read a lot of memoirs, and this book ranks among the best for so many reasons. The style is very immediate and descriptive. You feel you are there and you go through the many emotions of the author. You relive with him the events he experienced, how he managed to survive, and marvel at how he eventually wound up on the unlikely island of P.E.I. The book is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Yet, despite his survival, for me, the story is ultimately heartbreaking because of the thousands who drowned or who were thoughtlessly killed. We are daily bombarded by tragic events and we become somewhat inured to lives of ordinary people sacrificed, but the author’s ability to portray the personalities of the people he met makes us acutely feel the loss of those innocent and courageous people.

This book deserves widespread publication and should be on the reading list of every high school.

Mary Parker
July 25, 2016

Couldn’t put it down

A very well written and artfully worded book. It was difficult to put down even when I tried.

Esther Puiras
July 24, 2016

A Must Read

When I put it down I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again. Great story. I can see a sequel.

Barry Schieck
July 24, 2016