Quiet as They Come

Quiet as They Come

Book - 2010
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In the tradition of authors like Jhumpha Lahiri, Quiet As They Come is a beautiful and at times brutal portrait of a people caught between two cultures. Set in San Francisco from the 1980s to the present day, this debut collection explores the lives of several families of Vietnamese immigrants as they struggle to adjust to life in their new country, often haunted by the memories and customs of their old lives in Vietnam. While some are able to survive and assimilate, others are crushed by the promise of the "American Dream." No matter their fate, you will never be able to forget the people you meet in this remarkable collection.
Publisher: Brooklyn, NY :, Ig Pub.,, 2010.
ISBN: 9781935439189
1935439189
Branch Call Number: FIC CHAU
Characteristics: 199 pages ; 21 cm

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DorisWaggoner
Oct 15, 2015

This brief book of interconnected stories follows an extended family of Vietnamese boat people as they travel from a refugee camp to San Francisco, and for a decade after. Each story is told from the point of view of a different family member, some of whom we get to know better than others. Those who are adults when they arrive struggle with learning English, the difficulties of having been professionals in Vietnam but having to start at the bottom in America, and racism. They all want their children to fit in, do better than they can, and to retain their Vietnamese culture. Their children struggle against their parents, while needing their love and approval. The degree of suffering is sometimes almost unbearable, but beautifully expressed. Throughout, I wondered how different this family's experience was from that of my own grandparents and great grandparents, who arrived from Norway in 1890. The stories that came down to my generation were different, but then my family didn't look different, and didn't come from a country that had just been involved in a war against the US. Very thought provoking.

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