In brief

16th January 2004 at 00:00
THE GANGSTER WE ARE ALL LOOKING FOR. By Le Thi Diem Thuy. Picador pound;12.99

This is an elegant, touching memoir by a Vietnamese-American writer and performance artist of a childhood spent with one or other parent missing, even when they were both in the same room. ThNoy Le's father was largely absent during her early years in South Vietnam (he was an American-trained elite soldier, but his in-laws called him a "Buddhist gangster"), but only she and he succeeded in leaving by boat after the takeover by North Vietnam.

Aged six when they arrived in California with four "uncles" (fellow refugees who had shared their boat) in 1978, ThNoy listened to her father weeping every night and begged for trips to the beach, where she believed her mother would be waiting. Miraculously, the family was reunited but both parents had severe emotional problems and their daughter ran away at 16, conscious that she could not replace what had been lost somewhere in the South China Sea. She refers to "people who, feeling that they have no recourse to change the circumstances of their own lives, fold down, crumble into the shadows".

This, her first book, has been compared to Art Spiegelman's Maus in its attempts to understand and reflect a previous generation's suffering.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now