The action in Paradise of the Blind is set against the backdrop of Communist Vietnam. Hang, the protagonist, is a young lady who grew up in the slums of Hanoi and is now making her way to Moscow to visit her Uncle Chinh, who is sick. As she does so, she reminisces about her childhood in Vietnam. Paradise of the Blind, the first Vietnamese novel to be published in the United States, is strongly critical of the country's Communist system of government, to the extent that the book is currently banned in Vietnam.
Hang's reflections on her early life and those of her family cause her to acknowledge the enormous damage that Communism has inflicted upon them. In particular, the radical program of land reform initiated by the Communists has reduced the family to poverty. The lives of the book's three female characters are inextricably bound up with the involvement of Uncle Chinh in the Communists' land distribution program. The appropriation of their land and their subsequent impoverishment have robbed them of a sense of place. Yet they each, in their own individual ways, retain an unbreakable connection to the land of their birth despite the enormous hardships they continue to endure.