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The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars [Anglais] [Broché]

Andrew X. Pham

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Description de l'ouvrage

23 juin 2009
One of the Ten Best Books of the Year, Washington Post Book World
One of the Los Angeles Times’ Favorite Books of the Year
One of the Top Ten National Books of 2008, Portland Oregonian
A 2009 Honor Book of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association

“Few books have combined the historical scope and the literary skill to give the ­foreign reader a sense of events from a Vietnamese perspective. . . . Now we can add Andrew Pham’s Eaves of Heaven to this list of indispensable books.”
New York Times Book Review

“Searing . . . vivid–and harrowing . . . Here is war and life through the eyes of a Vietnamese everyman.”
—Seattle Times

Once wealthy landowners, Thong Van Pham’s family was shattered by the tumultuous events of the twentieth century: the French occupation of Indochina, the Japanese invasion during World War II, and the Vietnam War.
Told in dazzling chapters that alternate between events in the past and those closer to the present, The Eaves of Heaven brilliantly re-creates the trials of everyday life in Vietnam as endured by one man, from the fall of Hanoi and the collapse of French colonialism to the frenzied evacuation of Saigon. Pham offers a rare portal into a lost world as he chronicles Thong Van Pham’s heartbreaks, triumphs, and bizarre reversals of fortune, whether as a South Vietnamese soldier pinned down by enemy fire, a prisoner of the North Vietnamese under brutal interrogation, or a refugee desperately trying to escape Vietnam after the last American helicopter has abandoned Saigon. This is the story of a man caught in the maelstrom of twentieth-century politics, a gripping memoir told with the urgency of a wartime dispatch by a writer of surpassing talent.

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

One of the Ten Best Books of the Year, Washington Post Book World
One of the Los Angeles Times’ Favorite Books of the Year
One of the Top Ten National Books of 2008, Portland Oregonian
A 2009 Honor Book of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association



“The ‘I’ of the first-person narration, belonging not the author but to his father; the Edenic lushness of Thong’s childhood memories, intermingled with the wrenching dramas to come: These are the devices of sophisticated fiction, drawing us in while keeping us precariously off balance.”
The Boston Globe


“[A] work of radiance. In some ways, it resembles that supreme recollection of a world lost to history’s depredations, Speak, Memory, in which Vladimir Nabokov summoned up his pre-revolutionary Russian boyhood. . . . [A]s with Tolstoy’s war and peace, darkness, intrinsically formless, gets shape and vividness from the light playing through it. . . . brilliantly chilling . . .”
—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times

“Thong Van Pham is constantly fleeing and rebuilding in the midst of war, watching world after world vanish, from the feudal estate of his childhood to the Hanoi of the ‘50s to the Saigon of the 70s. He and his son have done us the extraordinary service of bringing a few pieces of those worlds back again.”
New York Times Book Review

“ . . . [A] gorgeously written book . . . [Pham] seems to have risen to a new level of quiet and powerful storytelling. . . . The Eaves of Heaven is built from a series of short vignettes -- some sweet, some horrifying -- which are not recounted in chronological sequence, but linked in a narrative that darts nimbly across time, lingering on haunting scenes of brutality and violence as well as of beauty and love. . . . It's the absence of chronology that gives Thong's story its magic and depth, and allows it to be sustained by his observations of the ephemeral and the descriptions of unforgettable characters.”
Washington Post Book World

“[A] searing story . . . The remembered images of more tranquil, carefree times are what make the subsequent depictions of wartime terrors and devastation so heartbreaking. . . . Pham has a novelist’s eye for telling details . . .”
Seattle Times

“There are some books that writers shouldn’t read . . . because they are so good they make you despair that you could ever write so well yourself. The Eaves of Heaven by Andrew X. Pham, is such a book. Pham . . . is the best kind of memoirist. . . . He understands a memoir is not really about oneself but about a period, a time, a people. . . . As a memoir, The Eaves of Heaven accomplishes what few polemics do – it is a sweeping personal indictment of war, a reassuring and yet merciless affirmation of the human spirit.”
Portland Oregonian

“Pham deftly paints a compelling portrait of life during three wars in Vietnam . . . This beautifully written books is essential for public and academic libraries.”
Library Journal, starred review

“War-torn as it was, a lost world lives again in Thong’s recollections of the passions of his life: food, friends, family, romance. Personal tragedy and triumph, related with amazing perspective against an epic backdrop.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“World-shaping events that most Americans know merely through schematic maps and historical summaries take on a poignantly human immediacy in this story of one storm-buffeted man: Thong Van Pham, the author’s father. . . . By turns touching and searing, this slice of history—like Pham’s earlier Catfish and Mandala (1999)—deserves a wide readership.”
Booklist, starred review

“Alternating between his father’s distant past and more recent events, the narrative takes readers on a haunting trip through time and space. This technique lends a soothing, dreamlike quality. . . Pham does an admirable job of recounting the complex cast of characters and the political machinations of the various groups vying for power over the years. In the end, he also gracefully delivers a heartfelt family history.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review


From the Hardcover edition.

Biographie de l'auteur

ANDREW X. PHAM is the award-winning author of the memoir Catfish and Mandala and the translator of Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram.

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Commentaires en ligne 

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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  32 commentaires
27 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 My favorite book of the Summer for story, language, emotion, and more 14 juillet 2008
Par Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Sometimes a reader is privileged enough to read a book in which the words, sentences, and stories just wash over and envelop you, like a gentle beach wave. This is such a book. I enjoyed Pham's earlier "Catfish" so much that I awaited this latest book of family stories with great anticipation; and I was rewarded. Whether I read this on the subway, a bench, or at home, I was immediately transported to Vietnam, where Pham skillfully describes the villages and cities, the triumphs, pains, tastes, loves, corruptions, kindnesses, terrors and fears of his father's early life (or perhaps lives.) Along the way, I learned more about Vietnamese history and village life than I ever knew before. Pham orders the chapters so that the reader moves back and forth between the decades of his father's childhood and adulthood, all the while progressing to the point we all expect, the fall of Saigon to the VC.

As his grandmother taught, the eaves of heaven dealt good and bad in cycles. Devastating floods brought death but fertile harvests, childbirths brought the risks of a mother's death, and lovely days brought future storms. The lyrical sentences allow you to nearly taste the peach melba ice cream eaten during a courtship, but also let you live the terror of re-education and being pinned down by VC troops in a life or death firefight. The pure childhood enjoyment of eating treats and having cricket fights is a pleasure to read. But one will never again care for the fabled glory of the French Foreign Legion after finishing this book. I finished the final chapter just as NBC began to telecast the Miss Universe pageant from a colorful and cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang, and all I could do is ponder the tribulations of this memoir and the amnesia of the telecast. Luckily this book captures a forgotten past with all the aspects that the eaves leave in shadows.
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Read! 26 juin 2008
Par Armchair Interviews - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The Eaves of Heaven is about Thong Pham's life. His son, Andrew Pham, writes in the first person as if it were his father telling his story. In the introduction Andrew writes "I have lent his [Thong Pham's] life stories my words...The perspectives and sentiments within are his." Hence this book is Thing Pham's memoir, distilled as stories he told his son, and further distilled as Andrew Pham recounts them again.

Thong Pham witnessed the French occupation of Vietnam, the Japanese occupation during World War II and the American war after World War II ended. His story is one of migration that those displaced by war experience. First he moved from his ancestral land in the Red River Delta (North Vietnam) to Hanoi, and later to Saigon. Recounted are also times when work demands pulled him away from his home and family.

Each chapter recounts an event that as a collection bring out the idyllic life of a Vietnamese child born into aristocracy, the horrors of armed conflict, the helplessness of forced migration, the plight of serving in the armed forces, and the hardships of being captured by the enemy. With these backdrops, the narrative interweaves human actions (both base and noble) that give this book its soul. As a collection of family stories, this book is a treasure trove for the Pham family.

Pham's attention to detail effectively transports the reader "on location" so one can truly feel the rain, see the sunrise and appreciate the events are they unfold. The chapters are not in chronological order, and I found myself constantly referring to prior chapters and prior events to get a better understanding of which events had transpired, and which ones were to come. When I re-read the book, I'll read the chapters so the events narrated are in chronological order.

For those not familiar with Vietnamese history, Pham provides adequate background to help follow the political events that transpire in Thong's life. The Eaves of Heaven is more about human feelings and emotion than about the political turmoil that serves as its backdrop. One realizes that armed conflict and forced migration bring out the best and worst in all of us.

Armchair Interviews agrees.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 There were so many dark stories of the past 14 novembre 2009
Par quynh tran - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I had the book in my sight for days and returned it to the library then I borrowed it and returned it, again and again, until one day I had enough courage to sit down and read it and finished it in 1 weekend. I could have read it sooner and once committed to it I could have finished the book in shorter time but there were lots of things, mostly fear, kept me from completing the task. Most of the time when the book led me to the painful memories of the Viet Nam war during which time I was born and growing up in Saigon, I had to put the book down and walked away for a while until I've gathered enough strenght to pick it up and continue.

Just like the author, I had similar childhood and upbringing, my parents are northerners of the middle class farmer clan who escaped the communist in 1954 to come to the south, my father was a member of the Nationalist Movement, the idealistic young intellectuals group which was decimated by Viet Minh (Ho Chi Minh) group.

Unlike his father, my father never told us what he has been through before 1954, his life during the French and Japanese occupation was never revealed to his children and I am thankful for Pham for opening the window of his soul to show me what I have almost missed the chance to know.

There were so many dark stories of the past, in North Viet Nam, that my father never told us, having read the book I came to realize the reason why my father never wanted to talk about them. The deadly struggles between the Nationalists and the Communists, the harrowing 2 million-death famine caused by the Japanese, the long run from Nam Dinh to Hanoi that he and my mother made across miles of rice fields and villages with my 3 older brothers and luggage in their arms and backs (I was not born until the family settled in the South), the French seized him when the family arrived in Hanoi and put him in the infamous Hoa Lo prison for a while. All these experiences I hear it second hand from relatives long after he passed away.

The book had shined a light on the painful path that the author's father and my father traveled through, for which I appreciated a great deal and forever grateful.

Had the author never committed to writing, Pham certainly will become a great painter with his gift of vision we found in the book.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 fascinating biography that look at the history of Viet Nam 28 juin 2008
Par Harriet Klausner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
From 1940 to1976, Viet Nam was in a constant state of war that impacted the people. Andrew X. Pham provides the biography of his father Thong Van Pham, who lived through the three plus decades of war starting with the Japanese invasion of the French occupied region during WW II through the fight for independent from the French and finally the war over the South against the United States. As a child Thong lived an upper crust life being born to a wealthy family. Over the years of war, famine and abuse, the family fortune vanished and consequently the life style.

This is a fascinating biography that also serves as a deep look at the history of Viet Nam. The author rotates his father's life with recent events that brings a harrowing feel as the reader gains a sense of the outcome resulting from the years of turbulence. Well written, readers will marvel at Mr. Pham's capture of the impact of power struggles on everyday people.

Harriet Klausner
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The painless way to learn a lot about Vietnam 10 juillet 2009
Par Nancy Hayward - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This was a poignant tribute to the author's father who lived through French, Japanese and American wars of occupation in Vietnam. Written in simple language with powerful imagery, it will leave you dreaming of things that were and might have been, while finally realizing the WHY of Vietnam and how, under the circumstances, things couldn't have happened differently. I will read it again.
P.S. It's not a downer.
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