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Postcards From Nam [Kindle Edition]

Uyen Nicole Duong
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Award-Winning Finalist in the Fiction: Multicultural category of the 2012 International Book Awards

Mimi (the protagonist of Mimi and Her Mirror) is a successful young Vietnamese immigrant practicing law in Washington, D.C. when the postcards begin to arrive. Postmarked from Thailand, each hand-drawn card is beautifully rendered and signed simply "Nam." Mimi doesn't recognize the name, but Nam obviously knows her well, spurring her to launch what will become a decade-long quest to find him. As her search progresses, long-repressed memories begin to bubble to the surface: her childhood in 1970s Vietnam in a small alley in pre-Communist Saigon. Back then, who was her best friend as well as her brother's playmate, and what did art have anything to do with the alleys of her childhood? What was the dream of these children then? What happened when these children were separated by the end of the Vietnam war, their lives diverged onto different paths: one to freedom and opportunity, the other to tragedy and pain? Now Mimi must uncover the mystery of the postcards, including what might have happened to the people who where less fortunate: those who escaped the ravaged homeland by boat after the fall of Saigon. When the mystery is solved, Mimi has to make a resolution: what can possibly reunite the children from the alley of her childhood even when the alley exists no more?

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Uyen Nicole Duong earned a B.S. in journalism/communication from Southern Illinois University, a J.D. from the University of Houston, and an LLM from Harvard Law School. She worked for ten years as a law professor in Colorado before moving to Houston, Texas, where she lives today. Postcards from Nam is the third installment of a three-book series on the end of the Vietnam War and the settlement experience of Vietnamese Americans in the United States. The first two books are Mimi and Her Mirror and Daughters of the River Huong, the latter of which has been used in Vietnamese studies courses at Yale University and San Jose State. In addition to writing fiction, she pursues L’Art Brut (raw art).

Product Details

  • File Size: 1139 KB
  • Print Length: 115 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (August 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00546IDP4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,906 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
109 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reclaiming Memories September 13, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a military veteran who clearly remembers our nation's battles in the Vietnamese conflict, I approached Postcards from Nam with caution. For years I was exposed to a military view of the Vietnamese and especially the Vietcong and Vietnamese Communists. Could this book help heal those emotional wounds?

When I read a professional review, I was hooked before even reading the book. The review claimed "it delves into the soul of the exile", and has "conflicts of identity and a search for self." I love books that analyze people and explore foreign cultures.

This novel is the story of Mimi (Mi Chau) and her childhood friend Nam who live in the same crowded neighborhood in Vietnam. Mimi and her parents escape from Vietnam during the American withdrawal in 1975, leaving behind Mimi's beloved grandmother. Nam pledges to care for Mimi's grandmother in the familys absence. Soon after the Communists begin their rule, Mimi loses all contact with Nam and eventually forgets the name of her childhood friend.

Mimi becomes a successful lawyer and settles in Houston. Ten years after her escape, she starts to receive hand drawn postcards from "Nam". For Mimi, this is like a mystery. Who is sending cards? What could he want? Is there special significance to each postcard's hand drawn scene? After her mother reminds her of who Nam was to the family, she queries How can I find him? What will others in the immigrant community think about her relationship with Nam?

What starts out as a "mystery story" becomes a novella of revelations of the life experiences she has shut out - causing an amnesia of sorts. Her search begins to unravel the story familiar to many Vietnamese immigrants/refugees.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Story, Little Book August 9, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)

The saying 'good things come in small packages', apparently refers to novellas, too. This book is the third in a trilogy. It is not necessary to have read the prior stories to enjoy this one.

Author Uyen Nicole Duong has written a saga in less than 100 pages. She gives voice to the Vietnamese diaspora, juxtaposing the successful transplants with those who fled their country but, never achieved their dreams. Duong's prose and dialogue convey settings and emotions using words sparingly. Her character development and story telling are reminiscent of author Amy Tan; a family epic being told within a tome. It's an onion technique. 'Revealing by peeling'. Duong, however, is remarkable in that, she skillfully condenses the reading experience in far fewer pages.

This is a work of fiction. Beyond that, for those of us who grew up in the era of the Viet Nam war, this is a poignant reminder; there are faces, feelings, and stories beyond official government numbers. Postcards from Nam could be an excellent supplement to courses of history and literature. It's an intimate look at the strength of the human spirit.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant "Postacrds from Nam" August 5, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With "Postcards from Nam," Uyen Nicole Duong, has completed a series of three novels about the end of the Vietnam War and the experiences of Vietnamese children who settled in the United States. I have not read Duong's first two books on the subject, but "Postcards" grabbed me with its dual stories of lawyer/writier Mimi and her childhood friend, Nam. Mimi was able to leave Saigon at the end of the warin the April airlift, while Nam stayed and had to suffer more trauma in his eventual excape by boat. I would now like to read the two previous books in the series.

"Postcards from Nam" is written with poetic grace as well as riveting detail.I found myself caring deeply about both Mimi and her long-lost friend. This book is a fascinating exploration of the topic. It would be an excellent book group choice or as part of a college course on the Vietnam War and its after effects. I strongly recommend it.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
POSTCARDS FROM NAM is a slight novella of less than ninety pages by Uyen Nicole Duong. Apparently it is the third installment of a trilogy addressing the Vietnamese Diaspora. I have not read the first two stories so I cannot gauge how well this story advances the author's narrative concerning the Vietnamese experience, nor can I judge her progress as a new writer based on this book alone. Let it suffice to say that I was disappointed with this book. I felt short changed from the promising story suggested on its cover blurb.

Actually, I think POSTCARDS FROM NAM had great potential for addressing some very meaningful issues regarding the exiled Vietnamese after the US-Vietnam War, and this is what I was expecting, but for this reader the book misses the mark and fails to elicit the emotional response such a story should engender. Rather, I came away feeling that the novella is hollow, and without the strength of a solid narrative, it collapses under its own weight.

POSTCARDS FROM NAM lags from page one with overwrought description of the setting which never fully captures the reader's attention. I desperately searched for something of substance to pique my attention and pull me in but instead I was repelled by a sappy melodrama without subtext. The construction of the novella is awkward, the characters synthetic and their dialogue unctuous. The plotting is preposterous and the soap operatic device of amnesia made me roll my eyes and want to throw the book across the room.

However, I do recognize that the book has certain value to the Vietnamese community in America.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars nicely written
A change of pace from my usual reading material. I rarely enjoy reading books like this. I was hooked and very interested in about the characters. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Zegory Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars THe story behind those who left Viet Nam after the fall.
Sad story about the fall of Viet Nam. I volunteered as a R.N. during the orphan flight from Viet Nam to San Francisco. This is a haunting story about reliving the past.
Published 15 days ago by Howard Calloway
3.0 out of 5 stars The author has better to come I hope
I was intrigued and interested at the beginning of this book. It drew me in...but the middle started to drag. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Pat Martin
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't grab me Put it down -Picked it up Just ...
Didn't grab me Put it down -Picked it up Just lost interest in it Drug in some spots - to wordy in other spots Would not recomend to others
Published 1 month ago by Larry Godshall
3.0 out of 5 stars Postcards from Jam by Uyen Nicole Duong
This book is less then a 100 pages, but takes you on a longer visual trip. The author takes us into the world of different cultures, and her writing does the same. Read more
Published 1 month ago by April Martinez
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
Short novella but packed full with meaning and insight!
Published 2 months ago by Mary
4.0 out of 5 stars Vietnam
I liked the way author shows the timeless relationship between Mimi and Nam. I enjoyed the portrayal of Saigon District 8 in the early 70's. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Suzanne M. Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An interesting tale.
Published 4 months ago by dolly
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
quite depressing but well written
Published 5 months ago by Lola Patricia Moir
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very well written book (even if they call it novella). Could not put it down.
Published 5 months ago by Larisa Bolotsky
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