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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although "A Boat to Nowhere" is fiction, it is based upon events that really happened to many Vietnamese refugees during the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War.  The author, Maureen Crane Wartski, lived in Southeast Asia during the time American involvement in the was was building, and because of this and other factors, she developed a sense of empathy and continuing interest in what happened to the people of that area.  Enotes observes that, "even though the experiences (recounted) are not directly hers, the book rings true because it is about 'issues and characters (she her)self could honestly understand and appreciate'".

The story tells of the hardships faced by one small, remote village in Vietnam after "The New Government of Vietnam", a pseudonym for the Hanoi-based "Communist Provincial Revolutionary Government", took power.  Although the time and placement of the narrative is specific to the years immediately following the withdrawal of the United States from that area, the book is not particularly about the Vietnam War.  Rather, the author's intent was to examine and portray "the effects of any war on the quality of individual lives - the dislocations, emotional terrors, and physical sufferings that national conflicts bring to the lives of all citizens".