From Andrew X. Pham, the award-winning author of Catfish and Mandala, a son's searing memoir of his Vietnamese father's experiences over the course of three wars.
The Philadelphia Inquirer hailed Andrew Pham's debut, Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam, for evoking "the full sadness of the human condition... marveling at spiritual resilience amid irreconcilable facts." The New York Times Book Review called it, simply, "remarkable". Now, in The Eaves of Heaven, Pham gives voice to his father's unique experience in an unforgettable story of war and remembrance.
Once wealthy landowners, Thong Van Pham's family was shattered by the tumultuous events of the 20th century: the festering French occupation of Indochina, the Japanese invasion during World War II, and the Vietnam War.
Told in dazzling chapters that alternate between events in the past and those closer to the present, The Eaves of Heaven brilliantly recreates the trials of everyday life in Vietnam as endured by one man, from the fall of Hanoi and the collapse of French colonialism to the frenzied evacuation of Saigon. Pham offers a rare portal into a lost world as he chronicles Thong Van Pham's heartbreaks, triumphs, and bizarre reversals of fortune, whether as a South Vietnamese soldier pinned down by enemy fire, a prisoner of the North Vietnamese under brutal interrogation, or a refugee desperately trying to escape Vietnam after the last American helicopter has abandoned Saigon.
This is the story of a man caught in the maelstrom of 20th-century politics, a gripping memoir told with the urgency of a wartime dispatch by a writer of surpassing talent.
©2008 Andrew Pham (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
This is a very well written work, telling the story of the Japanese, French and American wars in Vietnam, through the eyes of one man. A life full of dramatic events, dispossession, loss, and being forced into situations with little choice, gives a great insight into the climate of war, and the cruelty, generosity and humanity that entails.
This was very atmospheric. Since being to Vietnam, I have yet to find a book that adequately describes the environment and the people there. This DID IT. There is something so distinctly genuine about the narrative, that I felt I was in Vietnam all over again - even though the book and my experiences are several decades apart.
The jumps between time periods was definitely my least favourite. I have liked non-chronological books before, but I just felt that in this situation, it actually did not benefit the development of the narrative at all.
It inspired me to learn even more about South-East Asian history. Even though I think my knowledge of history is above average, I was still surprised by how much of this book was new to me.
I'm really glad I read this, but it IS one the more difficult audiobooks I've chosen. Staying focused was challenging and I had to take several breaks.
Blind Vietnam veteran. Antique weapons collector. Outdoor enthusiast. Florida State University graduate with Business major. Owner of home health agency. registered nurse.
I spent a year in Vietnam and thought I had seen it all and understood it all. This book made me realize how wrong I was.
An awakening to the horrors of war in a country where happiness and simplicity were the way of life until complexity and the modern age conspired to destroy a life style.
A great read.
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