Where the Ashes Are

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Where the Ashes Are by Nguyen, Qui C.; Nguyen, Qui Du'C, 9780201632026
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  • ISBN: 9780201632026 | 0201632020
  • Cover: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/1/1994

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In 1968 Nguyen Qui Duc was nine years old, his father was a high-ranking civil servant in the South Vietnamese government, and his mother was a school principal. Then the Viet Cong launched their Tet offensive, and the Nguyen family's comfortable life was destroyed.
Taken prisoner and marched up the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the author's father witnessed secret Viet Cong hideouts, B-52 bombing raids, and the death of an American POW. North Viet Nam's highest-ranking civilian prisoner, he eventually spent twelve years in captivity, composing poems in his head to keep himself sane.
Nguyen Qui Duc escaped from Sai Gon as North Vietnamese tanks approached in 1975. He came of age as an American teenager, going to school dances and working at Roy Rogers, yet yearning for the homeland and parents he had to leave behind.
Meanwhile, the author's mother stayed in Viet Nam to look after her mentally-ill daughter. No longer allowed to teach school, she sold noodles on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. She endured poverty and "reeducation" until her husband was freed and the Nguyens could reunite.
Intertwining these three stories, Where the Ashes Are shows us the Viet Nam war through a child's eyes, privation after a Communist takeover, teeming refugee camps, and the struggle of new immigrants. The author returns to Viet Nam as an American reporter, providing a detailed portrait of the nation today as it again opens to the West.
Where the Ashes Are closes with Nguyen Qui Duc's thoughts on feeling pulled between his adopted country and his homeland. It is a rare and moving story about where families look for home in a world of revolution.

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