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The story, with some of a mandala's repeated symbolic motifs, works on several levels at once. It is an exploration into the meaning of home, a descriptive travelogue, and an intimate look at the Vietnamese immigrant experience. There are beautifully illuminated flashbacks to the experience of fleeing Vietnam and to an earlier, more innocent childhood. While Pham's stern father, a survivor of Vietcong death camps, regrets that Pham has not been a respectful Vietnamese son, he also reveals that he wishes he himself had been more "American" for his kids, that he had "taken [them] camping." Catfish and Mandala is a book of double-edged truths, and it would make a fascinating study even in less able hands. In those of the adventurous, unsentimental Pham, it is an irresistible story. --Maria Dolan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book resonated with me on so many different levels. As an Asian-American, I totally got how Pham felt when asked by a Vietnamese in Vietnam, "... Read morePublished 5 days ago by D.Beyer
I don't want to be insensitively critical but I thought the book was an ok read. It isn't much of a story, really. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Live2Learn
I read this while in Vietnam. It certainly resonated. While it reads more as a series of short stories than a cohesive novel, I enjoyed it immensely.Published 2 months ago by Stacey White
An Pham's picaresque adventure of rediscovery is a search, not only for the ghosts of a homeland lost but also for a self contained ephemeral, perhaps incipient, a search for... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Captures that burning desire that many immigrants deal with in yearning to "fit in" whether it be here in the U.S. or wherever our cultural roots are. Read morePublished 3 months ago by chibiji