Most helpful critical review
2 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2010
I was quite disappointed in this novel. I had heard so much hype about it that I was very anxious to get a copy and read it. Perhaps my over-anxiousness was what ruined the story for me. For this review, I'll only re-type the synopsis from the dust jacket:
"Set in contemporary Vietnam, this is the story of a country undergoing momentous change, a story that transforms our notion of how family is defined-not always by bloodlines but by the heart. Tu' is a young tour guide working in Hanoi for a company called New Dawn, but while he leads tourists through his city, including American veterans on "war tours," he starts to wonder what it is they are seeing of Vietnam-and what they miss entirely. Maggie, who is Vietnamese by birth but has lived most of her life in the U.S., has returned to the country in search of clues to her dissident father's disappearance during the war. Holding the story together is Old Man Hung, who has survived decades of political upheaval and through it all has found a way to feed hope to the community of pondside dwellers among whom he lives.
This is a keenly observed and skilfully wrought novel about the reverberation of conflict through generations, the enduring legacy of art, and the redemption and renewal of long-lost love."