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The Philadelphia Inquirer hailed Andrew Pham's debut, Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam, for evoking "the full sadness of the human condition... marveling at spiritual resilience amid irreconcilable facts." The New York Times Book Review called it, simply, "remarkable". Now, in The Eaves of Heaven, Pham gives voice to his father's unique experience in an unforgettable story of war and remembrance.
Once wealthy landowners, Thong Van Pham's family was shattered by the tumultuous events of the 20th century: the festering French occupation of Indochina, the Japanese invasion during World War II, and the Vietnam War.
Told in dazzling chapters that alternate between events in the past and those closer to the present, The Eaves of Heaven brilliantly recreates the trials of everyday life in Vietnam as endured by one man, from the fall of Hanoi and the collapse of French colonialism to the frenzied evacuation of Saigon. Pham offers a rare portal into a lost world as he chronicles Thong Van Pham's heartbreaks, triumphs, and bizarre reversals of fortune, whether as a South Vietnamese soldier pinned down by enemy fire, a prisoner of the North Vietnamese under brutal interrogation, or a refugee desperately trying to escape Vietnam after the last American helicopter has abandoned Saigon.
This is the story of a man caught in the maelstrom of 20th-century politics, a gripping memoir told with the urgency of a wartime dispatch by a writer of surpassing talent.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kat on 11-09-16
well written, insightful, reflective
This is a very well written work, telling the story of the Japanese, French and American wars in Vietnam, through the eyes of one man. A life full of dramatic events, dispossession, loss, and being forced into situations with little choice, gives a great insight into the climate of war, and the cruelty, generosity and humanity that entails.
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