File Size: 850 KB
Print Length: 353 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (April 1, 2010)
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
Pham weaves his life history with that perfect mix of humor-sadness-humor that gets the reader laughing one second and choking down tears the next. An excellent read!, What a well crafted quest! Totally honest and out telling. The author achieved many trials and tribulations on his voyage back to his native land, but... he is obviously a survivor! I loved learning more than I knew (at this date) about Vietnam. As a budding sociologist, it was very interesting. I am so pleased that I came on this book! You will learn a lot by reading it too, if you are from the West.
I absolutely loved it.... 5 stars!, This book talks of one man's quest to visit Vietnam, after being raised in America (Viet-kieu). It switches into depth about his preconceptions, commitments, breakthroughs, challenges, and reactions of others to his occurrence in Vietnam. The guide describes what it must've been like to try to get from the country when it was besieged through descriptive stories of older generations. Cultural and historical background, through information on family relationships, everyday life, and differing beliefs, offers the book depth. I learned about filial human relationships, friendship, etiquette, entrepreneurship, travel and leisure, dealing with change and finding your roots., This is a powerful and very well crafted book. I know Vietnam rather well (not as a tourist) and this is a rare book that gives the reader an understanding of the traumatic postwar period in this sad and beautiful country. Nevertheless the book is also a chronicle of the Vietnamese refugee family and its tragic American Journey, and lastly it is a travelogue and an e book for cyclists (like me) to admire. But especially the mixture of honesty and fine prose makes this a special book and so much more fulfilling than the endless sentimental and US -centric Vietnam Conflict books that obscure the truth about this extraordinary country., In preparation for my month-long trip to Vietnam in Jan-Feb '03, I spent quite some time on Amazon, and found out this jewel of the book! I am most grateful to previous readers of "Catfish and Mandala" who rated this a 5-star read, and who influenced me to purchase the book; they were right - it's 5-stars all the way!!!
Traveling with Andrew is an unforgettable experience! He makes you crack upward in one scene, then has you drying a tear in another. An individual can't wait to get at the next chapter! He's an author that has me connected - I want to read everything he's written!
Even though I circumnavigated the planet some 20 years ago, and have seen it all, done it all, his tales instill some fear in me about doing it again (at 51, am I too old for this? ). Yet, I do believe I can be brave yet again. Individuals some 20 years ago, I remember being frightened to the bone just considering the map of where I was going (Egypt, India, Thailand, Nepal... ), but having a deep breath as the plane remaining the tarmac from Montreal, thinking "What will be, will be", I laid back, eventually enjoying the greatest 8 months of my entire life!
Those 8 months have served me personally well over the final two decades. The tales I have shared with clients over the years, be they from India, Jordan, Egypt, Taiwan or Israel, helped me form a balanced view of the world, and indeed added to fill my coffers.
So here I go once again! Indeed, I'll brave it one more time, scared as ever! In addition to what will be, will be. The risk (and consequent fear) is greater this time around, with my wife and 3 young children awaiting my return. I trust that I'll live to inform the tale for another 20 years...!
And those who understand the tale will know that traveling, to risk, to experience the world, and to savor all its beauty and bounty, which wealth!!
Thank you, Andrew, for giving me personally the courage one more time!
Highly recommended reading, even if you're not going to Vietnam., Mcdougal has experienced flight from Vietnam and the acculturation of his family into American world. He returns to his homeland looking for roots but, in the end, misses the diversity states. His vacation from Saigon to the beach and up to Hanoi gave me some understanding of this strange land I will be visiting., This guide has brought back many memories. My father fled from Vietnam in the same way since the Pham family. My name is also Andrew. Upon visiting Vietnam I thought many of the same things as he traveled through Vietnam. I was also treated differently for being an American-Vietnamese( and am was also half-chinese). The biggest thing I related to in this book was the journey to learn more of yourself and to find your path. This has been one of the better books i have read in a long time and I'm pleased someone suggested for me personally to read it., My husband and I just returned from a trip of Vietnam and Cambodia. Our wonderful guide in Vietnam strongly suggested we read this book. If only I would have read it before our trip, but I am so pleased he recommended it. Catfish and Mandala is a wonderful book for anyone to learn who is thinking about the Vietnam War and its aftermath. I had not thought what it would be like for a Vietnamese person who left Vietnam after the war and then returned as a Vietnamese American. Andrew Pham makes this very real and disturbing at times. His bike travels troughout the bring to life many of the places that I had just visited in a completely different way. I highly recommend it.
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