Magazine article New Internationalist

[Catfish & Mandala]

Magazine article New Internationalist

[Catfish & Mandala]

Article excerpt

(HarperCollins, ISBN 0-002-571-84-6)

Memory and belonging are at the heart of Andrew Pham's impressive memoir-cumtravelogue, Catfish & Mandala. In 1977, when Andrew was ten years old, his family fled Vietnam as part of the mass exodus of 'boat people'. After a perilous journey they were granted refugee status in the United States, eventually making their home in Southern California.

[Graph Not Transcribed]

Throwing himself into the American way of life through diligent study and an engineering job with United Airlines, Andrew came to regard himself as a Vietnamese-American. However, when his beloved but traumatized sister Chi committed suicide he began to doubt the values of both sides of his hyphenated identity.

In an attempt to rediscover his roots, Andrew decided to revisit his abandoned homeland, making a year-long trip by bicycle through Vietnam, returning to his home village and cycling from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. …

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