Bennet's Reviews > Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam

Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X. Pham
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Feb 25, 11

bookshelves: essays-memoir-etc, explores

The language is as compelling as the journey.

"For some of us, by returning as tourists we prove to ourselves that we are no longer Vietnamese but Vietnamese Americans. We return, with our hearts in our throats, to taunt the Communist regime, to show through our material success that we, the once pitiful exiles, are now the victors. No longer the poverty-stricken refugees clinging to fishing boats, spilling out of cargo planes onto American soil, a mess of open-mouthed terror, wide-eyed awe, hungry and howling for salvation. Time has veiled the days when America fished us out of the ocean like drowning cockroaches and fed us and clothed us, we the onus of their tragedy. We return and, in our personal silence, we gloat at our conquerors, who now seem like obnoxious monkeys cheating over baubles . . .

I adore Andrew Pham.
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Bennet The language is as compelling as the journey.

"For some of us, by returning as tourists we prove to ourselves that we are no longer Vietnamese but Vietnamese Americans. We return, with our hearts in our throats, to taunt the Communist regime, to show through our material success that we, the once pitiful exiles, are now the victors. No longer the poverty-stricken refugees clinging to fishing boats, spilling out of cargo planes onto American soil, a mess of open-mouthed terror, wide-eyed awe, hungry and howling for salvation. Time has veiled the days when America fished us out of the ocean like drowning cockroaches and fed us and clothed us, we the onus of their tragedy. We return and, in our personal silence, we gloat at our conquerors, who now seem like obnoxious monkeys cheating over baubles . . .

I adore Andrew Pham.


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