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Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey Hardcover – January 25, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

--Selected by Time Entertainment as one of their "Top 10 Graphic Memoirs of All Time"

--Awarded the 
Society of Illustrators' Gold Medal in Sequential Art

--Awarded 
the New York Foundation for the Arts' Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature

--Selected by 
School Library Journal and Library Journal as one of their "Best Books of 2011"

--Nominated for the 
2012 Eisner Award's "Best Reality Based Work" category


"A terrific and amazing memoir." --Miami Herald

"Beyond storytelling, Tran is an artist truly gifted in his medium."  --The Washington Post

"VIETNAMERICA is an utterly remarkable piece of American literature... this memoir resonate[s] as literature rarely does."  --Racebending

"... Atmospheric and evocative, sometimes kaleidoscopic to the point of psychedelia in its construction and 
formal invention."
--Warren Ellis

From the Author

Vietnamerica is what happened when I realized to better understand myself, I needed to first better understand my parents. It's the 50-year journey of my family's trauma, tragedy, and triumph through Vietnam's wars, and reinvention in its aftermath as refugees in theUnited States. It's the unraveling of my family's truth and what's uncovered when I drew my past to write my future.
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Product Details

  • Series: Vietnamerica
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; First Edition edition (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345508726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345508720
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I do like some graphic novels, Satrapi's Persepolis, and Speigelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale for example. However, for some reason, I have problems focusing on those GNs with many, many details on a page. It's what I call "too busy" for me. This is just me and I wish it were different, but...

I'm certain that this is a beautiful story about a 1st generation American learning the intricacies of what makes a family history important, and the intimacies not usually spoken of in America, leading him to a better understanding of his immigrant parents and their tremendous struggles. However, this telling simply isn't in the style that attracts and holds my attention. If you are a true GN enthusiast, I'm certain that you will enjoy Tran's story. If not, and you are interested in learning the experiences of 1st generation Vietnamese-Americans and their families, I suggest Daughters of the River Huong by Uyen Nicole Duong.
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Format: Hardcover
There were two major factors that sparked my interest in Vietnamerica. One is a fascination with how well memoirs can work in graphic format. The other, as a grandson of immigrants, is a lifelong interest in the American immigrant experience -- for the immigrants themselves and for their descendents. GB Tran exceeded my expectations with this moving examination of his family's story. He does a masterful job using words and images to illuminate character and setting, as only the best graphic memoirs do. It is fascinating how the very specific experience of this family fits in and enriches the overall American immigrant experience. (By the way, my comments are based on reading the color version of Vietnamerica. I hope those whose reviews were based on the black and white advanced copy take the time to experience this piece in color. Tran uses color subtly but very effectively.) I highly recommend Vietnamerica; I know I will accompany the Trans on their journey many more times.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I wanted to like Vietnamerica more than I did. Tran has an engaging art style, even in the black and white of the advance copy, and his family story is compelling. While all the pieces are there the story fails to come together in an effortless manner. Vietnamerica is more of a steady push than a heady sweep. It's easy to lose track of the narrative in the back and forth pace of the story, making it feel more forced than the best works of this genre. All the standard elements are here, the complicated father, the unappreciative son, the underlying theme that they can never understand each other until they do. Certainly the story of Vietnamese emigration is underserved in graphic form. For me, the emotional connection to Tran's family didn't take hold. I was interested in what happened but not mesmerized by it. I don't know if this was because of the slightly disjointed nature of the telling or if it was that Tran himself didn't have much interest in the tale until the end. There is a lot to recommend Vietnamerica, but it doesn't rise above it's format.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Seriously though, what can I say that hasn't already been mentioned before me?

I was assigned this memoir for a Refugee narrative course at UCLA. My professor purposefully concluded the course with this text, and I absolutely loved it! (Also because it was a fast read! lol, being a student that HELPS! )

This graphic novel is truly insightful, not only is the author G.B Tran an amazing story-teller, but he is a super talented illustrator as well! if you take the time to critique his work, the purposeful single page illustration that often contain no words to little words works as the climax of the story.

Like Joe Sacco, GB Tran himself incorporates his character within the comic. It is fascinating only because these are factual accounts of his life, if this was just any other novel, I wouldn't be as amazed.

Furthermore, I believe this novel re-sparked my interest in starting a memoir, I, myself being born in America, with parents that have "roots" in a Cambodia and China was truly inspired by this novel. I've always wanted to write one, but never knew where to start! This text is perfect for those interested in family values, diaspora, and journeys to self-hood.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic graphic memoir. Seriously. It is VERY fun to read. However, you really need to keep track of the characters. It seems a little scattered but PLEASE be patient with the gluing together of the story. Tran used this technique very efficiently and purposely! It tells two very interesting story arcs; father's and the son's (GB Tran). The art is expressive, colorful (even in the b/w portions. You can still sense the colors and the expressiveness) and just plain damn good. GB Tran did a wonderful job on this memoir.

I would definitely read this comic again.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really liked the animated approach to such a complex subject. I was a military policeman in Saigon during the war and it was enjoyable to see how the artist/story teller captured so many familiar nuances. The artist does a wonderful job capturing moods and emotions in his characters and in the settings themselves.

If I had a complaint it would be that I got lost from time to time. The point of view transitions and time transitions were sometimes quite abrupt, necessitating looking back a page or two to figure out what was going on.

Nonetheless, I was left with a powerful sense of the ups and downs of this relatively typical family living in and struggling to survive some horrific events.

Highly recommended.

Loren W. Christensen, co-author of On COmbat
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