Where the Ashes Are: The Odyssey of a Vietnamese Family

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9780803226982: Where the Ashes Are: The Odyssey of a Vietnamese Family

In 1968 Nguyen Qui Duc was nine years old, his father was a high-ranking civil servant in the South Vietnamese government, and his mother was a school principal. Then the Viet Cong launched their Tet offensive, and the Nguyen family’s comfortable life was destroyed. The author’s father was taken prisoner and marched up the Ho Chi Minh Trail. North Vietnam's highest-ranking civilian prisoner, he eventually spent twelve years in captivity, composing poems in his head to maintain his sanity. Nguyen himself escaped from Saigon as North Vietnamese tanks approached in 1975. He came of age as an American teenager, going to school dances and working at a Roy Rogers restaurant, yet yearning for the homeland and parents he had to leave behind. The author’s mother stayed in Vietnam to look after her mentally ill daughter. She endured poverty and “reeducation” until her husband was freed and the Nguyens could reunite. Intertwining these three stories, Where the Ashes Are shows us the Vietnam War through a child’s eyes, privation after a Communist takeover, and the struggle of new immigrants. The author, who returned to Vietnam as an American reporter, provides a detailed portrait of the nation as it opened to the West in the early 1990s. Where the Ashes Are closes with Nguyen’s thoughts on being pulled between his adopted country and his homeland.

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About the Author:

Nguyen Qui Duc is a journalist, translator, and writer whose National Public Radio series on Vietnam won the Citation of Excellence from the Overseas Press Club of America. In 2006 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his contributions to journalism.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A strong if not fully realized memoir of life in Vietnam--and then in America--that captures the angst of the refugee who will never be quite at home in a new country. On the Vietnamese New Year of 1968, Nguyen, then ten, and his family gather in the ancient imperial capitol of Hue. The family is descended from noble stock: The author's great-great-grandfather served as regent through the reigns of three young kings before the French forced him, in 1884, to sign a one-sided peace treaty. Now explosions awaken the family, foreshadowing the Viet Cong's arrival at the door of their French-style mansion. The author's father, civilian deputy to the military governor, is abducted and sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment. Without him, the family lose their status and are scattered by the winds of war--the author to Saigon, others to Canada or the US. The 1975 Communist takeover forces Nguyen to join his siblings in America, while his mother stays behind to care for a mentally-ill daughter and is soon reduced to living with a relative and hawking beef-noodle soup. Meanwhile, the author, guilt-ridden at leaving the two behind, bounces from menial job to menial job, his one constant being his longing for his native land. Eventually returning home, Nguyen works with refugees, even as his father languishes in prison. At last, the entire family is reunited in California, but the author isn't satisified and, braving a rift with his parents, returns to Vietnam only to learn that old lesson: that you can't go home again. Today, Nguyen works as production manager for a San Francisco radio station. A powerful tale, though diminished by sketchy, nearly slipshod, descriptions of many of its players. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description University of Nebraska Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In 1968 Nguyen Qui Duc was nine years old, his father was a high-ranking civil servant in the South Vietnamese government, and his mother was a school principal. Then the Viet Cong launched their Tet offensive, and the Nguyen family s comfortable life was destroyed. The author s father was taken prisoner and marched up the Ho Chi Minh Trail. North Vietnam s highest-ranking civilian prisoner, he eventually spent twelve years in captivity, composing poems in his head to maintain his sanity. Nguyen himself escaped from Saigon as North Vietnamese tanks approached in 1975. He came of age as an American teenager, going to school dances and working at a Roy Rogers restaurant, yet yearning for the homeland and parents he had to leave behind. The author s mother stayed in Vietnam to look after her mentally ill daughter. She endured poverty and reeducation until her husband was freed and the Nguyens could reunite. Intertwining these three stories, Where the Ashes Are shows us the Vietnam War through a child s eyes, privation after a Communist takeover, and the struggle of new immigrants. The author, who returned to Vietnam as an American reporter, provides a detailed portrait of the nation as it opened to the West in the early 1990s. Where the Ashes Are closes with Nguyen s thoughts on being pulled between his adopted country and his homeland. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780803226982

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Book Description Bison Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 280 pages. Dimensions: 8.9in. x 6.0in. x 0.6in.In 1968 Nguyen Qui Duc was nine years old, his father was a high-ranking civil servant in the South Vietnamese government, and his mother was a school principal. Then the Viet Cong launched their Tet offensive, and the Nguyen familys comfortable life was destroyed. The authors father was taken prisoner and marched up the Ho Chi Minh Trail. North Vietnams highest-ranking civilian prisoner, he eventually spent twelve years in captivity, composing poems in his head to maintain his sanity. Nguyen himself escaped from Saigon as North Vietnamese tanks approached in 1975. He came of age as an American teenager, going to school dances and working at a Roy Rogers restaurant, yet yearning for the homeland and parents he had to leave behind. The authors mother stayed in Vietnam to look after her mentally ill daughter. She endured poverty and reeducation until her husband was freed and the Nguyens could reunite. Intertwining these three stories, Where the Ashes Are shows us the Vietnam War through a childs eyes, privation after a Communist takeover, and the struggle of new immigrants. The author, who returned to Vietnam as an American reporter, provides a detailed portrait of the nation as it opened to the West in the early 1990s. Where the Ashes Are closes with Nguyens thoughts on being pulled between his adopted country and his homeland. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780803226982

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Book Description University of Nebraska Press, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In 1968 Nguyen Qui Duc was nine years old, his father was a high-ranking civil servant in the South Vietnamese government, and his mother was a school principal. Then the Viet Cong launched their Tet offensive, and the Nguyen family s comfortable life was destroyed. The author s father was taken prisoner and marched up the Ho Chi Minh Trail. North Vietnam s highest-ranking civilian prisoner, he eventually spent twelve years in captivity, composing poems in his head to maintain his sanity. Nguyen himself escaped from Saigon as North Vietnamese tanks approached in 1975. He came of age as an American teenager, going to school dances and working at a Roy Rogers restaurant, yet yearning for the homeland and parents he had to leave behind. The author s mother stayed in Vietnam to look after her mentally ill daughter. She endured poverty and reeducation until her husband was freed and the Nguyens could reunite. Intertwining these three stories, Where the Ashes Are shows us the Vietnam War through a child s eyes, privation after a Communist takeover, and the struggle of new immigrants. The author, who returned to Vietnam as an American reporter, provides a detailed portrait of the nation as it opened to the West in the early 1990s. Where the Ashes Are closes with Nguyen s thoughts on being pulled between his adopted country and his homeland. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780803226982

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