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A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial

af Viet Thanh Nguyen

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
842319,377 (4.42)5
Biography & Autobiography. Literary Criticism. Nonfiction. HTML:

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

The highly original, blistering, and unconventional memoir by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer, which has now sold over one million copies worldwide

With insight, humor, formal invention, and lyricism, in A Man of Two Faces Viet Thanh Nguyen rewinds the film of his own life. He expands the genre of personal memoir by acknowledging larger stories of refugeehood, colonization, and ideas about Vietnam and America, writing with his trademark sardonic wit and incisive analysis, as well as a deep emotional openness about his life as a father and a son.

At the age of four, Nguyen and his family are forced to flee his hometown of Ban M Thu?t and come to the USA as refugees. After being removed from his brother and parents and homed with a family on his own, Nguyen is later allowed to resettle into his own family in suburban San Jos. But there is violence hidden behind the sunny faade of what he calls AMERICATM. One Christmas Eve, when Nguyen is nine, while watching cartoons at home, he learns that his parents have been shot while working at their grocery store, the SiGn M?i, a place where he sometimes helps price tins of fruit with a sticker gun. Years later, as a teenager, the blood-stirring drama of the films of the Vietnam War such as Apocalypse Now throw Nguyen into an existential crisis: how can he be both American and Vietnamese, both the killer and the person being killed? When he learns about an adopted sister who has stayed back in Vietnam, and ultimately visits her, he grows to understand just how much his parents have left behind. And as his parents age, he worries increasingly about their comfort and care, and realizes that some of their older wounds are reopening.

Profound in its emotions and brilliant in its thinking about cultural power, A Man of Two Faces explores the necessity of both forgetting and of memory, the promises America so readily makes and breaks, and the exceptional life story of one of the most original and important writers working today.

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This memoir – it is really more than a memoir as the subtitle suggests – expands upon themes Professor Nguyen has explored in his previous works: colonialization, racism, the difficulties facing refugees in this country, and notions of identity complicated by a complicated war. Not only does Nguyen explore his own family’s flight from Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in 1975, but also his parents flight from North Vietnam to South Vietnam when the communists took over the northern part of the country and the complex relationship they had as “invaders” and “imperialists” with the Montagnards who populated in the region where they settled. Beyond that, Nguyen explores his family’s life as refugees first in Pennsylvania than in San Jose, California. Nguyen pulls no punches in his assessments of Vietnam War films and the prejudices he and his family faced here in America. As a Caucasian American, I found the criticisms sharp and difficult, but hardly unwarranted. As ever, Nguyen’s writing is lyrical and full of interesting typographic devices, like lines of poetry, and his style is self-effacing and humorous in the face of the challenges his family faced. ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
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Beslægtede film
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Biography & Autobiography. Literary Criticism. Nonfiction. HTML:

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

The highly original, blistering, and unconventional memoir by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer, which has now sold over one million copies worldwide

With insight, humor, formal invention, and lyricism, in A Man of Two Faces Viet Thanh Nguyen rewinds the film of his own life. He expands the genre of personal memoir by acknowledging larger stories of refugeehood, colonization, and ideas about Vietnam and America, writing with his trademark sardonic wit and incisive analysis, as well as a deep emotional openness about his life as a father and a son.

At the age of four, Nguyen and his family are forced to flee his hometown of Ban M Thu?t and come to the USA as refugees. After being removed from his brother and parents and homed with a family on his own, Nguyen is later allowed to resettle into his own family in suburban San Jos. But there is violence hidden behind the sunny faade of what he calls AMERICATM. One Christmas Eve, when Nguyen is nine, while watching cartoons at home, he learns that his parents have been shot while working at their grocery store, the SiGn M?i, a place where he sometimes helps price tins of fruit with a sticker gun. Years later, as a teenager, the blood-stirring drama of the films of the Vietnam War such as Apocalypse Now throw Nguyen into an existential crisis: how can he be both American and Vietnamese, both the killer and the person being killed? When he learns about an adopted sister who has stayed back in Vietnam, and ultimately visits her, he grows to understand just how much his parents have left behind. And as his parents age, he worries increasingly about their comfort and care, and realizes that some of their older wounds are reopening.

Profound in its emotions and brilliant in its thinking about cultural power, A Man of Two Faces explores the necessity of both forgetting and of memory, the promises America so readily makes and breaks, and the exceptional life story of one of the most original and important writers working today.

.

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