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Monkey Bridge

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Lan Cao

Hailed by critics and writers as powerful, important fiction, Monkey Bridge charts the unmapped territory of the Vietnamese American experience in the aftermath of war. Like navigating a monkey bridge-a bridge, built of spindly bamboo, used by peasants … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri, Fiction, Vietnamese Americans
Author: Lan Cao
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Date Published: June 01, 1998
1 review about Monkey Bridge

The Viet Nam we could never know

  • Jun 18, 2001
Pros: Beautiful, lovely prose, great characters.

Cons: Slightly difficult to follow at times.

The Bottom Line: It is fabulous. A MUST READ for anyone with an interest (or NOT) about the Vietnamese culture and people.

"Even the bare winter branches, tidy and muted like dry bones, had become a disturbance of tangled nerves."

Just a brief sample of the almost poetic prose found in Lan Cao's "Monkey Bridge."

Monkey Bridge tells the story of a Vietnamese girl who has come to America to escape the horrors of her country. She and her mother have fled Saigon to face the bewildering nature of America and Americans.

The story tells of Mai's search for herself--her new self--as she assimilates into the American culture, yet still has to deal with her culture and heritage. Most of the story revolves around her relationship with her mother and how she comes to understand the woman who is so rooted in the world they've left behind.

The book is fairly brief, 260 pages, yet is filled with a wealth of information about the culture that is so alien to most Americans. Much of the story is communicated through the mother's diary. She is educated, articulate and so filled with love for her lost culture and her modern daughter as she struggles to reconcile the two.

I really knew very little about the country or the people, but I find what I've learned gives me a much greater appreciation for their struggles and their courage. Their heritage is ancient and rich with a beautiful and honorable culture which I only begin to comprehend.

This book should be required reading for any literature student. As I sit here and write, I sigh as I recall some of the startling and poignant passages.

Monkey Bridge is a literary treat. It is one that will enrich the reader and maybe even the world a little bit.


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