Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey (英語) ハードカバー – 2011/1/25
Kindle 端末は必要ありません。無料 Kindle アプリのいずれかをダウンロードすると、スマートフォン、タブレットPCで Kindle 本をお読みいただけます。
A superb new graphic memoir in which an inspired artist/storyteller reveals the road that brought his family to where they are today: Vietnamerica
GB Tran is a young Vietnamese American artist who grew up distant from (and largely indifferent to) his family’s history. Born and raised in South Carolina as a son of immigrants, he knew that his parents had fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. But even as they struggled to adapt to life in America, they preferred to forget the past—and to focus on their children’s future. It was only in his late twenties that GB began to learn their extraordinary story. When his last surviving grandparents die within months of each other, GB visits Vietnam for the first time and begins to learn the tragic history of his family, and of the homeland they left behind.
In this family saga played out in the shadow of history, GB uncovers the root of his father’s remoteness and why his mother had remained in an often fractious marriage; why his grandfather had abandoned his own family to fight for the Viet Cong; why his grandmother had had an affair with a French soldier. GB learns that his parents had taken harrowing flight from Saigon during the final hours of the war not because they thought America was better but because they were afraid of what would happen if they stayed. They entered America—a foreign land they couldn’t even imagine—where family connections dissolved and shared history was lost within a span of a single generation.
In telling his family’s story, GB finds his own place in this saga of hardship and heroism. Vietnamerica is a visually stunning portrait of survival, escape, and reinvention—and of the gift of the American immigrants’ dream, passed on to their children. Vietnamerica is an unforgettable story of family revelation and reconnection—and a new graphic-memoir classic.
Gia-Bao (aka GB) Tran was born in South Carolina in 1976, a year after his parents fled Vietnam. He aspires to continue living the good life as a Brooklyn cartoonist/illustrator thanks, in large part, to the endless patience of his wife. His parents constantly remind him that if this “art thingy” doesn’t work out, he can, as the only family member born in the United States, be president instead.
I was assigned this memoir for a Refugee narrative course at UCLA. My professor purposefully concluded the course with this text, and I absolutely loved it! (Also because it was a fast read! lol, being a student that HELPS! )
This graphic novel is truly insightful, not only is the author G.B Tran an amazing story-teller, but he is a super talented illustrator as well! if you take the time to critique his work, the purposeful single page illustration that often contain no words to little words works as the climax of the story.
Like Joe Sacco, GB Tran himself incorporates his character within the comic. It is fascinating only because these are factual accounts of his life, if this was just any other novel, I wouldn't be as amazed.
Furthermore, I believe this novel re-sparked my interest in starting a memoir, I, myself being born in America, with parents that have "roots" in a Cambodia and China was truly inspired by this novel. I've always wanted to write one, but never knew where to start! This text is perfect for those interested in family values, diaspora, and journeys to self-hood.
"A man without history is a tree without roots" -Confucius
I would like to think that Tran was just as confused as I was at the beginning of the book when he was just hearing the first stories about his family's life in Vietnam, and as he learned more, the connections became clearer. Or maybe I'm just being presumptuous and projecting my logic and thought processes onto his.
The art in VIETNAMERICA is stunning. Tran does a fantastic job of combining form and function to portray the emotions involved in his family's experiences. It's obvious that he put his heart into every page of this book.
And as a young Vietnamese American who is in the process of exploring her roots, I want to thank Tran for providing me with a little more context surrounding what it is I'm getting myself into.
UPDATE: I just wanted to confirm that the book is indeed better and easier to understand the second time around (and that it was worth reading a second time).
I would definitely read this comic again.