Fiction Lan Cao Monkey Bridge

ISBN 13: 9780140263619

Monkey Bridge

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9780140263619: Monkey Bridge

Hailed by critics and writers as powerful, important fiction, Monkey Bridge charts the unmapped territory of the Vietnamese American experience in the aftermath of war. Like navigating a monkey bridge?a bridge, built of spindly bamboo, used by peasants for centuries?the narrative traverses perilously between worlds past and present, East and West, in telling two interlocking stories: one, the Vietnamese version of the classic immigrant experience in America, told by a young girl; and the second, a dark tale of betrayal, political intrigue, family secrets, and revenge?her mother?s tale. The haunting and beautiful terrain of Monkey Bridge is the "luminous motion," as it is called in Vietnamese myth and legend, between generations, encompassing Vietnamese lore, history, and dreams of the past as well as of the future. "With incredible lightness, balance and elegance," writes Isabel Allende, "ALan Cao crosses? over an abyss of pain, loss, separation and exile, connecting on one level the opposite realities of Vietnam and North America, and on a deeper level the realities of the material world and the world of the spirits."

  • Quality Paperback Book Club Selection and New Voices Award nominee
  • A Philadelphia Inquirer Best of the Rest of Summer 1997 pick
  • A Kiriyama Pacific Rim Award Book Prize nominee

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Review:

Just months before the Communists roll into Saigon in 1975, Mai Ngyuen, the young Vietnamese narrator of Monkey Bridge, is packed off to the U.S. Her sorrowing mother escapes in the final hours, leaving Mai's grandfather behind. Now it's Mai who plays the elder, navigating a rude, incomprehensible culture that makes possible a sudden twist in life. "Not only could we become anything we wanted to be in America, we could change what we had once been in Vietnam," she realizes. Though Mai watches her mother's ebullient friend shave years off her age and a one-time bar girl lay claim to a virtuous past as a Confucian teacher, she never wonders how much of their lives her mother has reinvented. Following in the footsteps of The Woman Warrior, this compelling novel draws on folk tales and traditions. Despite false notes and occasionally clunky dialogue, it delivers a neat knockout punch in the end.

About the Author:

Lan Cao is a professor of international law at Brooklyn Law School and resides in New York City.

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Open market ed. Language: English . Brand New Book. For the first time in fiction, the unmapped territory of the Vietnamese immigrant experience is examined in this tale of a young girl s coming-of-age in the United States in the aftermath of war. Mai Nguyen s journey begins when she leaves Vietnam in February 1975, just before the withdrawal of American troops from Saigon. She enters the world of Falls Church, Virginia, a Little Saigon community that encompasses refugees and veterans, reinvented lives and entrepreneurial schemes, secrets and lies about a war-torn and conflicted past, and Mai s dreams for a newly minted American future. But the secrets, and what is both hidden and revealed in diaries found buried in her mother s dresser drawer, pull Mai inexorably back to Vietnam. Within these diaries, Mai retraces not only her own earliest experiences, but also her mother s and grandmother s histories - and the story that began to unfold a generation past in the rice fields of the Mekong Delta. Past and present, east and west, Vietnamese myth and American-style reality intertwine and, ultimately, the legacy of long-simmering hatreds and what occurred late one afternoon in a burial ground near the banks of the Mekong River is revealed. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140263619

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