Dim Sum Diaries
I should be asleep, but I'm not. I felt the need to blog something...maybe to express what's been floating around in my head. Hubby is still up, playing WoW, he promises to go to bed in 1/2 an hour (yeah right). I've been on a book buying binge lately, desperate for that next enthralling book that will take me away to somewhere magical. Unless its by one of my favorite romance authors, I don't buy romances anymore. Somehow the tired plot-line of pretty thing in cosmopolitan city with appealing sounding chic job (art gallery director, fashion editor, etc) meets tall dark and handsome man, have sex, some lame plot, they end up happily ever after just doesn't cut it anymore. I want the book to be smart...engaging...I want it to hit me on head from the get go and engage me in the story. I want an escape...and I think I've found a winner with this latest book I JUST finished (which explains the late night), called Catfish and Mandela, by Andrew X. Pham.

Its a story about a boy who endures life in postwar Vietnam, and his family's subsequent migration to the United States, and adjusting to life as an American. Never feeling fully accepted as a "true American", he goes back on a bicycle tour of Vietnam, visiting the places he grew up. Yet he doesn't quite fit there either...the book is rich in detail on the intricate social customs one must observe even with strangers. The importance of not losing face...a distant relation blowing a week's wages at a bar so his guest (the author) and their party can drink fresh cobra blood (and heart) mixed in wine (the cobra only having been sliced open seconds before). The author drinking this mixture (though he is repulsed) because he realizes his hosts efforts in making this grand (and expensive) gesture on his behalf. The rampant corruption...everyone wants something from him...and they aren't afraid to ask for it. He tries to reclaim a lost part of himself during this trip and in so doing seems to sum up the character of the country and the culture poignantly.

Its bloody 2:35 am now, I'm probably babbling but this book is definitely a keeper for me. Being Chinese-American and 2nd generation, I am somewhat removed from what he experienced, but I can identify somewhat with what he is talking about. Especially with the family and it's expectations.

So go, go read it. Be entranced. I know I was.