'Jack Kerouac meets "Wild Swans".' The Times. A voyage through Vietnam's ghost-ridden landscape, at once a moving memoir, travelogue and compelling search for identity.
Winner of Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize - Fiction 1999.
'Pham's vivid testimony of personal and cultural reconciliation enriches significantly the burgeoning Vietnamese-American canon, and travel literature in general.' TLS 'Thoreau, Theroux, Kerouac, Steinbeck and Mark Twain -- the roster of those who have turned to their travels for inspiration includes some of America's most noted scribes. Now add Andrew X. Pham to the list!"Catfish and Mandala" records a remarkable odyssey across landscape and into memory.' Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Seattle Times 'An acute and evocative writer; the result is a rough guide to make the "Rough Guide to Vietnam" sound like the obscene lap of luxury. His tale is interwoven with a finely calibrated network of flashbacks in which war, imprisonment, escape and exile are shown to leave their indelible mark on everyone!Terrible and graphic, the book is as much about the future as the past: every event is scrutinised for what it may portend. The real power of "Catfish and Mandala" is visceral. Pham records his encounters with beggars, sadists, prostitutes and simple country folk with a bursting heart and a Dickensian eye for detail.' Independent 'The people, the landscapes, the poverty and grime of Vietnam live for us through this powerful memoir of grief, full of both comic and painful adventures.' Elle
Andrew X Pham was born in Vietnam in 1967 and moved to California with his family after the war. He lives in San Jose, California.