I was stunned by this novel. As a Vietnamese Canadian, unfortunately I've never delved into Vietnam's past on my father's side of...moreAbsolutely beautiful.
I was stunned by this novel. As a Vietnamese Canadian, unfortunately I've never delved into Vietnam's past on my father's side of the family. After reading this, I have a newfound spark to discover more through books and first-person accounts of their experiences. And being in this situation, I sympathized with Maggie, who is on a journey to find out who her father was after their separation, but is labelled as an outside I've come to care about all the characters in this novel: Old Man Hung, whose enthusiasm for truly good phở I can appreciate (a trait I find in my own father), Bình and his quiet dedication to his family, Tu, carrying the hopes as the 'new generation,' Lan and her past with Hung, and even Phương, with his dreams to become a rapper.
The humour found in this novel are delights because they speak simple truths, like Tu's inner advice to tourists that want to mend the past with Vietnam (spend lots of money here!), that he keeps hidden as he smiles and nods as he takes them on special tours. Bình and Tu's loyalty to Old Man Hung is also evident whenever they criticize other phở places down to the very last drop, much to the dismay of the owner who can hear everything they're saying, as they're sitting there as customers!
I've begun to venture into Canadian fiction and I find that often times, authors seem to be limited by the label. It is a fact that we are a young country, and perhaps it is rather difficult to spin expansive historical tales, which I've found to be disappointing because I consider works of a Canadian author to be Canadian fiction. Maybe it's a very simplistic view of the literary world, but I don't believe the label should restrict the geographical means of a good story, especially living in a country where we unconsciously interact with so many different cultures on a daily basis.
This is one incredible read, and whether or not you have had the experience of visiting Vietnam (as I must one day), I should hope you appreciate the tips for knowing a good bowl of phở found here. If I've learned anything from my father, it's that truly amazing broth should engulf you in its aroma as the bowl of phở arrives in front of you. May you all find that bowl that you wouldn't mind having to start your day, 365 days of the year.;)(less)
A hockey fan all the way here, but this book was simply addictive! If only Michael Lewis would take to writing something, anything, about my favourite...moreA hockey fan all the way here, but this book was simply addictive! If only Michael Lewis would take to writing something, anything, about my favourite sport. I have a very limited knowledge of baseball but this book would be compelling for anyone to read, even if it is about winning games through studying statistics. Makes you think if your team could incorporate this method, although the playoffs do seem like a crapshoot.
Can't wait to get my hands on the other books Lewis has written.(less)