In 1969, Laos was torn apart by internal strife and foreign intervention, which resulted in massive bombardments and tons of unexploded cluster bombs embedded in the earth. Set against that historical backdrop, this fictional novel for adults shares the compelling, distressing stories of three orphans—Alisak, Prany, and Noi—who grow up in the same village and depend on each other for survival.
Now teens, with nowhere to go and no one to look after them, they find shelter in a bombed-out farmhouse-turned-secret-hospital. They are enlisted by a brave and dedicated doctor named Vang to be motorcycle couriers who help rescue people and pick up medical supplies from other hospitals. Each journey is fraught with peril as embedded cluster bombs lurk in the earth, a constant threat to life and limbs. The three teens also nurse the wounded, mop blood off floors, set broken bones, suture, administer IVs, and more. Eventually, when Vang arranges for the teens’ and his own evacuation on the last helicopters leaving the country, a tragic event changes forever their vision of the future.
Author Paul Yoon masterfully weaves together the ongoing, decades-long stories of Vang, Alisak, Prany, and Noi with the narratives of others who survive the terror of Laos’s legacy or who, in distant lands, care enough to love and support people who are oppressed and displaced. Run Me to Earth is an uncomfortable, painful narrative and one honoring human dignity and devotion in the face of inconceivable terrors. (Simon & Schuster)