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Issue Details: First known date: 2023... 2023 Paul Giffard-Foret Reviews Anam by André Dao
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'André Dao’s debut novel Anam is like a house with many rooms and windows, to use an image employed by its author. Its multiple locales account for the shattering, scattering, and smattering of Vietnamese people across the globe, and their resettlement in outer migrant suburbs, in Paris’ Boissy-Saint-Léger or Melbourne’s Footscray. Alongside a distinctly cosmopolitan, diasporic feel, the novel opens up a thought-provoking cultural conversation on Vietnam’s colonial and postcolonial histories – and in so doing, digs up a lot of mud. This endeavour may have been facilitated by Dao’s outsider perspective as a Viet Kieu (Overseas Vietnamese) born and having grown up in Australia, which provides him with sufficient hindsight. It is no surprise, then, that the names excavated from Vietnam’s past ought to be figures of exile, beginning with Dao’s grandfather. While a Penguin review noted how this “work of autofiction, this part-memoir, part-novel is twelve years in the making”, Dao’s grandfather spent ten years throughout the 1980s at the infamous Chi Hoa jail located in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) as a political prisoner of conscience under the Communist regime, before being sent away on a plane to France upon release. The narrator compares his grandfather to those decimated Angolan antelopes who are the victims of inter-imperialist rivalry and proxy wars in Africa – “he, a colonial subject of an empire that no longer exists, a forgotten ghost of an already embarrassing past”.' (Introduction)

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Last amended 11 Oct 2023 08:44:17 Paul Giffard-Foret Reviews Anam by André Daosmall AustLit logo Mascara Literary Review
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  • Anam André Dao 2023 single work novel
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