The American Dream With a Vietnamese Twist

Mar 11, 2020 by Lan Cao, in Monkey Bridge
''My dilemma,'' says Mai, the narrator of Lan Cao's affecting first novel, ''was that, seeing both sides to everything, I belonged to neither.'' Mai lives at once in the past and the present, haunted by the memories of her Vietnamese youth and determined at the same time to create a new life for herself in America. On one hand, she shares the immigrant fears of her mother; on the other, she shares the shiny teen-age dreams of her friends -- college, a career, hanging out at the mall.

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