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Herding Cats by To Giang (translation by Hai Luong)

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We are delighted to announce the upcoming publication of Herding Cats, a true-crime memoir by Vietnamese author To Giang (translation by Hai Luong) in early October 2022. Originally published as Đường Xanh Viễn Xứ (The Green Faraway Road) by Nha Nam Publishers in August 2021, Herding Cats is the first English-language translation of Giang’s story of his involvement in and eventual conviction for cultivating cannabis for Melbourne’s Vietnamese organised-crime syndicates.

Đường Xanh Viễn Xứ (The Green Faraway Road) has become a best-seller in Vietnam and we expect its translation, Herding Cats, to be of great interest to Australian readers. Conveyed in a vivid yet candid voice, Herding Cats reveals the inner workings of the cannabis trade and Giang’s personal struggle of holding onto a dream as his world slips out of control.

A brief quote from the text:

Dân chăn mèo live in ordinary houses that contain a secret cannabis farm. They come up with various scripts for the crop-sitters to hoodwink the neighbours, police monitors, and public officials (known as cats). These people are called cats because cats are snoopy. Cannabis growers must overcome these cats. In essence, deflecting the cats’ curiosity is one of the most important determinants of successful cat herding. Put another way, dân chăn mèo are mice, but mice that herd cats! Although the authorities have measures to combat the secret growing of cannabis indoors, these are often ineffective. Diamond cuts diamond! As an intelligent man, chăn mèo or a ‘cat herder’ devises unique and bizarre mazes that act like lassos around the necks of the cats.

From a Vietnamese interview with the author:

The book helped me say many things. Readers that are dân chăn mèo ‘cat herders’ will learn more lessons about the profession of living in the dark. Those who fantasize about this life will understand the demonic world of financial corruption that is to be avoided. But first, the book is the “person” who pulls me up to live.