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Stealing Buddha's Dinnerby Bich Minh Nguyen
Synopses & Reviews
A vivid, funny, and viscerally powerful memoir about childhood, assimilation, food, and growing up in the 1980s.
Beginning with Nguyen's family's harrowing migration from Saigon in 1975, Stealing Buddha's Dinner is nostalgic and candid, deeply satisfying and minutely observed, and stands as a unique vision of the immigrant experience and a lyrical ode to how identity is often shaped by the things we long for.
"A charming memoir from a Vietnamese immigrant....[And] how she copes with sibling envy, schoolmate rivalries, authoritarian figures, youthful insecurities and a nagging mystery." Ben Fong-Torres, New York Times
"Far from being a memoir of what could be described as fitting into the kitschy ethnic-lit genre, her story is at once personal and broad, about one Vietnamese refugee navigating U.S. culture as well as an exploration of identity." Los Angeles Times
"It's clear that writing the book was Nguyen's way of coming to terms with the turbulent events of growing up. All too often the character of Bich is the quiet girl in the corner, unable to speak her mind. Here, she finally does." San Francisco Chronicle
"Nguyen brings back moments and sensations with such vivid clarity that readers will find themselves similarly jolted back in time." Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Her typical and not-so-typical childhood experiences give her story a universal flavor." USA Today
From an award-winning author, a novel about a Vietnamese American familys ties to The Little House on the Prairie
Jobless with a PhD, Lee Lien returns home to her Chicago suburb from grad school, only to find herself contending with issues shes evaded since college. But when her brother disappears, he leaves behind an
object from their mothers Vietnam past that stirs up a forgotten childhood dream: a gold-leaf brooch, abandoned by an American reporter in Saigon back in 1965, that might be an heirloom belonging to Laura Ingalls Wilder. As Lee explores the tenuous facts of this connection, she unearths more than expected—a trail of clues and enticements that lead her from the dusty stacks of library archives to hilarious prairie life reenactments and ultimately to San Francisco, where her findings will transform strangers lives as well as her own.
A dazzling literary mystery about the true origins of a time-tested classic, Pioneer Girl is also the deeply moving tale of a second-generation Vietnamese daughter, the parents she struggles to honor, the missing brother she is expected to bring home—even as her discoveries yield dramatic insights that will free her to live her own life to its full potential.
As a Vietnamese girl coming of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nguyen is filled with a rapacious hunger for American identity, and in the pre-PC-era Midwest (where the Jennifers and Tiffanys reign supreme), the desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food. More exotic- seeming than her Buddhist grandmother's traditional specialties, the campy, preservative-filled "delicacies" of mainstream America capture her imagination.
About the Author
Bich Minh Nguyen (pronounced/Bit Min New-win/) was born in Saigon in 1974. Her work has appeared in Gourmet, People, and the Chicago Tribune, She currently teaches at the University of Indiana.
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