Carol'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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's review
Dec 31, 08

Read in December, 2008

This book is definitely NOT about the bike, it plays only an incidental role. Being a bike tourist, I was really looking forward to a good story about a bike tour in an exotic, faraway place, instead found myself reading about eating disgusting foods and bloody diarrhea. Several stories are interwoven in the book, so the gross parts never lasted long. There was very little positive or uplifting in this book until the VERY last chapter.

To recommend it, though, I did learn much about being an immigrant to America (we can be a mean, closed society) and the feelings toward those who leave by those left behind. I did feel he strayed a bit too much into the aforementioned gross parts, and ignored the emotions he must have been feeling. It has a much more journalistic feel, than a person writing a travel journal.

If you have a queasy stomach, this book is not for you.


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