Bridget Thoreson, Review

Aug 02, 2014 by Lan Cao, in The Lotus and the Storm
The Lotus and the Storm. Lan Cao. Aug. 2014. 400p. Viking, hardcover, $27.95 (9780670016921).

For all that has been written about the Vietnam War, little has come from the perspective of the South Vietnamese whose lives were shattered in the conflict. Cao looks to rectify that imbalance in this complex tale of a father and daughter who fled to America, forever marked by the war and its aftermath. The novel, which is informed by the author’s own life, spans major events such as the Tet Offensive and the exodus from Vietnam following the Communist takeover of Saigon. But the immersive core of this story is on a much more domestic scale, as both Mai and her father, Minh, struggle with the fallout from choices made to preserve their family. While Mai’s story largely unfolds from the events of the war forward, Minh’s part of the tale flips back from 2006 to the events in the 1960s and ’70s, a striking juxtaposition of the elderly, frail man and the vital soldier whose boots were admired by his daughters. Evocative and elegiac, The Lotus and the Stormis a stunning accomplishment.