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Grass Roof, Tin Roof

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
In this stunning novel about a Vietnamese family resettling in the isolation of California gold country, Dao Strom investigates the myth of westward progress and the consequences of cultural displacement.

Told from multiple perspectives and interwoven with the intimate reflections of a middle child, Grass Roof, Tin Roof begins with the story of Tran, a Vietnamese writer fac
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by Mariner Books (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 77)
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Richard Derus
Oct 21, 2016 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
Rating: 4* of five

Re-read this because the Clinton campaign ad on "no place for Captain Khan in Drumpf der Dummkopf's Murrika" made me want to scream. Sick-making to think people in a country made entirely of immigrants can think that way.

And this book, Strom's first novel, holds up beautifully to a second read. Fine, fine book, and quintessentially American.
Jan 09, 2009 Mari rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mari by: Don
"Concerning love, she told herself she was practicing the Buddhist paradox of "living simultaneously": immersion and non-attachment together."

I was ready to give up on this book halfway through simply because the plot shifted (intentionally) off of the main character (the main character in the beginning at least.) The first part of the book, set in Saigon, is riveting - especially to a female writer. I was wrapped up in her story - that when the plot shifted to another character, her Danish husb
Jun 10, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was hopeful, really hopeful, with the promise of this book. I read an excerpt of it in an anthology of California authors and was intrigued. I wanted to see how the author was going to use the Gold Country in California as a possible character in the book. While the scenarios faced by the central characters were compelling, and the writing which juxtaposed Vietnam and America for adults, young adults, and children was a strong construct, I didn't end up making it to the end of the book. There ...more
Sep 22, 2009 Sandy rated it it was ok
This is an interesting personal history of a Cambodian (?) girl being raised in the States after a tough childhood in S.E. Asia..... but it wasn't very well written and ultimately I lost interest in it..... I see now from the 'find books by title or author' list that she has written several others, among them 'The Gentle Order of ' I like the title so perhaps I'll read that, or give this one a second chance.
Oct 28, 2009 Jenn rated it really liked it
This novel is the story of a refugee family that relocates to California after the Vietnam war. Like several of the other reviewers here, I was much more engaged in the novel during the first and last chapters that take place in Vietnam. The middle portion of the book is set in Sacramento and just wasn't as intriguing to me. I've been to Sacramento, maybe that is why. All together I enjoyed it though.
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This novel follows Tran, a Vietnamese woman, from her days of working for a politically charged newspaper in Saigon in the '70s to her family life in California and on into her children's lives. A precise story about the nature of belonging. I loved it.

Recommended by Aubrey,

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Jul 10, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
There were absolutely beautiful moments in this set of stories. Sometimes it was a little confusing with the back and forth in time, the blend of fictional and non-fictional (within the novel) stories that were written by the characters. But all in all, it felt like it would stick with me for a while.
Jobiska (Cindy)
Jul 26, 2011 Jobiska (Cindy) rated it liked it

Weirdly episodic and scattered, and I don't know what the author was tring to convey/get me to feel. The most compelling character (to me) was the mother, who dies less than half way through.
Jul 25, 2011 Sarah added it
I found this book a bit odd in its structure but quite compelling. I enjoyed the vignettes that provided an insight into the immigrant experiences (differing by generation, country of origin, and personality).
Apr 16, 2013 Ruby marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Story of a Vietnamese woman who emigrates to the US, marries a Scandinavian immigrant, and raises her family in Gold Country CA. Each chapter is a story from the perspective of a family member.
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May 05, 2011
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Evan White
Jan 06, 2014 Evan White rated it it was ok
Started and finished: Thailand, 2004
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Dao Strom is the author of Grass Roof, Tin Roof and The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys. She is also a writer of songs; she writes and records as The Sea and The Mother.

The New Yorker praised Strom's story collection,The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys, as being "quietly beautiful...hip without being ironic."

Her latest work is a hybrid literary/music/art project, an experimental memoir, We Were Mean
More about Dao Strom...

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