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Thao Thai

Autor(a) de Banyan Moon

1 Work 276 Membros 8 Críticas

Obras por Thao Thai

Banyan Moon (2023) 276 exemplares


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The Vietnam War had such a profound effect on my generation, even though I lived (and live) in Canada, that I am always eager to read books about people who lived through that experience. Here the grandmother, Ming, and the mother, Huong, were born in Vietnam and experienced the harshness of the war. And the flashbacks to their life in Vietnam were what I felt was the most powerful parts of the book. Unfortunately, the flashbacks were few and far between.

Granddaughter Ann was born in the USA but her grandmother told her folktales from Vietnam that colour her American experience. Ann was closer to her grandmother than her mother and as a grown up she has moved far away from both of them. They still live in Florida but Ann is living in Michigan with her professor fiance. Ann works as an illustrator but she also seems to be subservient to her fiance. When she discovers he has had an affair and then shortly after she learns her grandmother has died, Ann flees to Florida to help with the funerary rites. She also discovers she is pregnant, an unexpected but not unwelcome event. The grandmother's ghost is hanging around the family home, the Banyan House, trying to mend the relationship between Huong and Ann. The house is cluttered and falling apart but Ann, who was left the house jointly with her mother in her grandmother's will, is trying to decide if she will continue to live there. And she is trying to decide if her high school friend,/boyfriend would be better father material than the actual father of her baby. As she gets bigger and bigger with her pregnancy her ability to make decisions, about anything, becomes more difficult. On the other hand, her mother is becoming more of a support than she ever was in Ann's childhood so that helps. There's a dramatic scene at the end which brings matters to a head but, of course, I'm not going to spoil the book by telling you about that.

The three women are all somewhat abandoned by the men in their lives and have to raise their children without a father's support. Grandmother Minh did marry a good man in Vietnam but he died at a young age. The other two really didn't make great choices for mates. So, all three of these women have had to be strong and resourceful but that may have had a continuing effect on how they choose men. I think this reinforces the fact that children do best with both genders involved in their raising.
… (mais)
gypsysmom | 7 outras críticas | Apr 9, 2024 |
Really enjoyed reading this debut novel. I look forward to reading more books by Thai.
DKnight0918 | 7 outras críticas | Dec 23, 2023 |
Newly pregnant Ann Tran is dissatisfied with being the odd woman out in her boyfriend's family of white upperclass intellectuals. When she discovers that her beloved grandmother, Vietnamese immigrant Minh, has died, she leaves her boyfriend and returns to her childhood home, a large rambling house in a Florida swamp. There she tries to work through her grief, her uncertainty about her pregnancy, and a tentative reconciliation with her single mother, Huong.

I was drawn to this book by the exploration of Vietnamese characters and its descriptions of Florida's natural landscape, and both were very well done. Minh's story of how she made a life for herself in Vietnam, and how she made a life for them in the United States after they immigrated, was interesting and well-written. Ann's story, which takes up the majority of the book, was somewhat less compelling and was slow at times. I liked that Ann was rationally able to confront the less pleasant aspects of her grandmother's character and accept both her positive and negative effects on her life. Her indecision about her life with Noah, her boyfriend, did get a bit repetitive after a while. I also wished for more details about the house, but I'm a devotee of reading about real estate so that may just be my thing.

Overall I enjoyed the story -- up until a plot twist out of left field in the last part of the book upended everything and sent the plot into unrealistically melodramatic territory. This was a quiet book about people facing believable problems, it just wasn't realistic for this to have happened, especially since it seemed to have no negative effect on anyone involved whatsoever. The author is talented, and I hope in her next book she resists the impulse to insert unnecessary drama like that.
… (mais)
1 vote
sophroniaborgia | 7 outras críticas | Dec 12, 2023 |
This was overall a good book. It was pretty slow in parts, some of the phrasing was cliche and overly dramatic in descriptions. It was interesting enough, however, that I wanted to finish and find out the ways the past intertwined with the relationships. The character development was great.
MahanaU | 7 outras críticas | Nov 21, 2023 |



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