Catfish and Mandala

Catfish and Mandala

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

Book - 1999
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A Vietnamese Bicycle Days by a stunning new voice in American letters.Andrew X. Pham dreamed of becoming a writer. Born in Vietnam and raised in California, he held technical jobs at United Airlines-and always carried a letter of resignation in his briefcase. His father had been a POW of the Vietcong; his family came to America as "boat people." His sister committed suicide, prompting Andrew to quit his job. He sold all of his possessions and embarked on a year-long bicycle journey that took him through the Mexican desert, where he was treated as a bueno hermano, a "good brother"; around a thousand-mile loop from Narita to Kyoto in Japan; and, after five months and 2,357 miles, to Saigon, where he finds "nothing familiar in the bombed-out darkness." In Mexico he's treated kindly as a Vietnamito, though he shouts, "I'm American, Vietnamese American!" In Vietnam, he's taken for Japanese or Korean by his countrymen, except, of course, by his relatives, who doubt that as a Vietnamese he has the stamina to complete his journey ("Only Westerners can do it"); and in the United States he's considered anything but American. A vibrant, picaresque memoir written with narrative flair and a wonderful, eye-opening sense of adventure, Catfish and Mandala is an unforgettable search for cultural identity.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c1999
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374119744
0374119740
0374119783
Characteristics: 344 p. ; 24 cm

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IanMass
May 22, 2016

I read this while travelling in Vietnam. Much of the 1999 description still holds true. An interesting and well written memoir.

d
duncanvalley
Apr 03, 2010

Wrong cover and description.

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