Grass Roof, Tin Roof by Dao Strom

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In this stunning novel about a Vietnamese family resettling in the isolation of California gold country, Dao Strom investigates the myth of westward progress and the consequences of cultural displacement.

Told from multiple perspectives and interwoven with the intimate reflections of a middle child, Grass Roof, Tin Roof begins with the story of Tran, a Vietnamese writer facing government persecution, who flees her homeland during the exodus of 1975 and brings her two children to the West. Here she marries a Danish American man who has survived a different war. He promises understanding and guidance, but the psychic consequences of his past soon hinder his relationships with the family. The children, for whom the war is now a distant shadow, struggle to understand the world around them on their own terms.

In delicate, innovative prose, Strom's characters experience the collision of cultures and the spiritual aftermath of war on the most visceral level. Grass Roof, Tin Roof is a beautiful work of profundity and empathy, powerful emotion and rare insight.

About Dao Strom

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Dao Strom was born in 1973 in Saigon to a well-known writer and journalist. Her mother fled the country with her when she was a baby; her father stayed and was later sent to reeducation camps. Strom grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills with her mother and stepfather. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune; Still Wild, an anthology edited by Larry McMurtry; and several literary magazines, and she is the recipient of a James Michener fellowship, the Chicago Tribune/Nelson Algren Award, and several other grants. She lives in Austin, Texas.
Published January 7, 2003 by Mariner Books. 244 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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April (born Thuy) is the most introspective of the three, and some of Strom’s best moments occur in passages detailing April’s perpetual disorientation, crystallized when she returns to Vietnam at age 23, and realizes that “I don’t know what my name is anymore.” Strom also creates vivid sequences...

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Publishers Weekly

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Her description of the Saigon newspaper office and the flight from Vietnam is gripping, and she offers some affecting scenes of the family's tenuous suburban existence as well: a redneck accuses Hus ("Hoss") of shooting his dog in a tense confrontation.

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