The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars
This remarkable story is classified as memoir but I shelved it with novels as well because it reads like a novel. Either way it is finely crafted and thoroughly engaging. Writing in first-person as his father, Andrew tells the story of his father's life in Vietnam in chapters shifting back and forth in time, primarily between World War II and the American War. In the 1970s the family moved to America, where Andrew was raised. ...more
Why am I reading this book? I must’ve read hundreds of books about Vietnam, historical, political, cultural, literary. And this particular one isn’t even that great, or not as great as Pham’s last. Perhaps it’s because this time he’s writing his dad’s memoir and things get lost in translation. Surely his father recounted his memories in Vietnamese. And then for Pham to take those accounts and draft them into purple English pros ...more
I can't say this story was optimistic--it was bracing certainly. It is about survival and the anguish of a people trying to shake the shackles of colonialism and t ...more
It goes back and forth between the years, so it never allows you to get tired of it. Not dry reading, reads like a good novel. It's a good engaging story. It has characters you care about, and want to know wha ...more
All critics agreed that The Eaves of Heaven, written in short, eloquent vignettes that move back and forth in time, is one of the best memoirs of this period in Vietnam's history written from the Vietnamese point of view. Indeed, it offers a much-needed perspective in the United States, which often thinks of "Vietnam" as a painful episode in its own history rather than another nation's. But some reviewers, impressed by Pham's ability to write in his father's voice without sentimentality, went ev...more
The Eaves of Heaven is one of the best books I've ever read and Andrew X. Pham is a very talented writer. I will definitely pick ...more
The book illustrates by following a family how wars inevitably divide people and force people onto sides of a conflict that they may not care about ...more
Well written, well described and you should read this.
Let me start by saying that I am almost exclusively a reader of fiction, so this book was a real departure for me,but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was entertaining (not really the right word given the subject matter) and educational. I was in grade school during the Viet Nam war and didn't know a lot about it or the circumstances leading up to it. I liked the author's writing style. He told the story in an entertaining manner. I will definitely be checking out his Catfish and Mandel ...more
One of the most interesting parts to me was how it showed the Vietnam War as just another stage in a series of conflicts in Vietnam. (Oh, and it shows the US as being more interested in installing their chosen leader rather than allowing actual democratic elections. But I've read enough about the US's patronizing approach when it comes to democr ...more
I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in Vietnam.
My only (very) minor quibble is that the language gets a bit too flowery at times, and some photos (if they exist) and an family tree would have added even more poignancy.
Combined with Catfish and Mandela, Andrew Pham has written two excellent and essential books from a Vietnamese per ...more