Books  General Natural History  Biography, Exploration & Travel 

Catfish and Mandala: A Vietnamese Odyssey

Biography / Memoir

By: Andrew X Pham

344 pages, no illustrations


Paperback | Feb 2001 | #125288 | ISBN: 0006552234
Availability: Usually dispatched within 7 days Details
NHBS Price: £11.99 $15/€13 approx

About this book

A voyage through Vietnam's ghost-ridden landscape, at once a moving memoir, travelogue and compelling search for identity. Vietnamese-born Andrew Pham finally returns to Saigon, not as a success showering money and gifts onto his family, but as an emotional shipwreck, desperate to find out who he really is. When his sister, a post-operative transsexual, committed suicide, Pham sold all his possessions and embarked on a year-long bicycle journey that took him through the Mexican desert; around a thousand-mile loop from Narita to Kyoto in Japan; and, after five months and 2,357 miles, to Saigon, where he finds 'nothing familiar in the bombed-out darkness'. At first meant to facilitate forgetfulness, Pham's travels turn into an unforgettable, eye-opening search for cultural identity which flashes back to his parent's courtship in Vietnam, his father's imprisonment by the Vietcong, and his family's nail-bitingly narrow escape as 'boat people'.

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