“Don’t you think that when we tire of someone, we’re really just tired of who we are when we’re with them? So we leave and try on new cloaks. The first step to remaking yourself is to get away from the person who knows you best”.
Genre: Historical Fiction | Queer | Contemporary | Asian Literature
Published: Europa Editions | 2019
My rating: 5 / 5
Sensitive Content: Includes violence | Sexual harassment
This book has been published in 2019, and I’ve only came across it few weeks ago? Shame on me, because it’s such a brilliant book, it makes me sad, because it’s not as popular as it should be. It’s not just a story about life in Vietnam and America, it’s a story of personal development as a person, individual. How do you find yourself if you don’t even know what you’re looking for?! Childhood traumas, people from the past, how it all affects you when you’re a grown up and “supposed” to know what you’re doing…
Book consists of two parts, first, where a girl (narrator) is 7 years old and arrives in the camp, where her mother is being protected, because she’s a valuable figure in the Communist party of Vietnam. She doesn’t take part in daughters’ life/education, she’s consumed with an ideology and is constantly preoccupied with her work. One of the camp soldiers takes care of a girl, and shows her kindness that she won’t forget until the end of her life. She also makes a friend, the only girl in the camp, who is a daughter of the kitchen worker. One is under the privileged position and another is nobody, how their lives will entwine together in the future?
Second part of the book is about girl’s life in New York, after her mother sends her away, because it’s no longer safe in Vietnam. Almost twelve years in the country, where she is an abomination for all her relatives and has to find a life and place in this new world, that belongs just to her. Her nightmares from the past are still hunting her. Here she will meet Jon and Lilah, that will make loads of promises, but would they keep them? And how would the neighbor, who reminds her of her soldier from Vietnam affect her future life decisions?
As I’ve wrote earlier, it an extremely deep book, there is so much psychology behind these pages. I felt deep connection with the main character and was genuinely hoping that this story will end well for her. Book itself is written well, after the story starts in New York I could not stop reading it. The story feels so real with all its ups and downs.