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The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnamby Dana Sachs
Synopses & Reviews
Dana Sachs went to Hanoi when tourist visas began to be offered to Americans; she was young, hopeful, ready to immerse herself in Vietnamese culture. She moved in with a family and earned her keep by teaching English, and she soon found that it was impossible to blend into an Eastern culture without calling attention to her Americanness--particularly in a country where not long ago she would have been considered the enemy. But gradually, Vietnam turned out to be not only hospitable, but the home she couldn't leave.
Sachs takes us through two years of eye-opening experiences: from her terrifying bicycle accidents on the busy streets of Hanoi to how she is begged to find a buyer for the remains of American "poes and meeas" (POWs and MIAs). The House on Dream Street is also the story of a community and the people who become inextricably, lovingly, a part of Sachs's life, whether it's her landlady who wonders why at twenty-nine she's not married, the children who giggle when she tries to speak the language, or Phai, the motorcycle mechanic she falls for.
The House on Dream Street is both the story of a country on the cusp of change and of a woman learning to know her own heart.
It wasn't until the early 90's that the war-torn country etched into the historical memory of every American finally opened its doors to the world. Journalist Dana Sachs had been haunted by her limited understanding of Vietnam culled from bits and pieces of the evening news and quick summaries in high school history. She decided she had to get to know Vietnam and its people from the inside out.
She'd anticipated meeting with stares and hostility as an American in Vietnam. She hadn't anticipated becoming entranced, so entranced that she moved to Hanoi.
The House on Dream Street is Sachs' heartfelt account of how she settled in with a Vietnamese family, learned the language, and made a place for herself in enemy territory. And then, when she least expected it, she fell in love.
With vivid descriptions of the tastes, sounds, smells, and images of Vietnam, Sachs reveals the beauty of a country long off-limits to Americans. Part love story, part social commentary, Sachs' memoir explores the tenuous balance between old and new Vietnam. But above all, The House on Dream Street tells the story of a woman learning to know her own heart.
An intimate look at a Vietnam--a country in the midst of social and political upheaval--as seen through the eyes of a young woman from Memphis struggling to establish a life and a home in contemporary Hanoi.
About the Author
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Dana Sachs is a freelance journalist who has written for a number of magazines and newspapers, including Mother Jones, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Philadelpia Inquirer. She has translated Vietnamese novels into English and codirected the award-winning documentary about Vietnam Which Way Is East. A graduate of Wesleyan University and the MFA program at UNC-W, she teaches journalism and Vietnamese literature courses at UNC-W and lives with her husband and son in Wilmington, North Carolina.
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