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Catfish and Mandala

A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam

Pham Andrew X.


Editeur - Casa editrice

Picador USA

Estremo Oriente
Vietnam



Anno - Date de Parution

2000

Pagine - Pages

344

Titolo originale

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam

Lingua originale

Lingua - language - langue

ebg


Catfish and Mandala Catfish and Mandala  

The award-winning "Catfish and Mandala" is the poignant, lyrical tale of an American odyssey--a solo bicycle voyage around the Pacific Rim to Vietnam made by a young Vietnamese-American man in pursuit of both his adopted homeland and his forsaken fatherland.


From Publishers Weekly
In narrating his search for his roots, Vietnamese-American and first-time author Pham alternates between two story lines. The first, which begins in war-torn Vietnam, chronicles the author's hair-raising escape to the U.S. as an adolescent in 1977 and his family's subsequent and somewhat troubled life in California. The second recounts his return to Vietnam almost two decades later as an Americanized but culturally confused young man. Uncertain if his trip is a "pilgrimage or a farce," Pham pedals his bike the length of his native country, all the while confronting the guilt he feels as a successful Viet-kieu (Vietnamese expatriate) and as a survivor of his older sister Chai, whose isolation in America and eventual suicide he did little to prevent. Flipping between the two story lines, Pham elucidates his main dilemma: he's an outsider in both America and VietnamAin the former for being Vietnamese, and the latter for being Viet-kieu. Aside from a weakness for hyphenated compounds like "people-thick" and "passion-rich," Pham's prose is fluid and fast, navigating deftly through time and space. Wonderful passages describe the magical qualities of catfish stew, the gruesome preparation of "gaping fish" (a fish is seared briefly in oil with its head sticking out, but is supposedly still alive when served), the furious flow of traffic in Ho Chi Minh City and his exasperating confrontations with gangsters, drunken soldiers and corrupt bureaucrats. In writing a sensitive, revealing book about cultural identity, Pham also succeeds in creating an exciting adventure story. (Oct.)