The intoxicating beauty of the Vietnamese countryside, the hunger, the pride, the endurance of ordinary Vietnamese people confronted with the hypocrisy and corruption that surround them -- all are here in this moving, lyrical novel. At the center is Han, a young woman forced to grow up too fast in the slums of Hanoi and the turbulence of modern Vietnam. There is Hang's mother, who watches, powerless, as her life is shattered by a fanatical political campaign led by her own brother. And there is the mysterious Aunt Tam, who has accumulated wealth and bitterness in equal parts and seeks to pass on both to her niece, Hang. A beautifully written and translated book which should be read by all Americans.
Paradise of the Blind is an exquisite portrait of three Vietnamese women struggling to survive in a society where subservience to men is expected and Communist corruption crushes every dream. Through the eyes of Hang, a young woman in her twenties who has grown up amidst the slums and intermittent beauty of Hanoi, we come to know the tragedy of her family as land reform rips apart their village. When her uncle Chinhs political loyalties replace family devotion, Hang is torn between her mothers appalling selfsacrifice and the bitterness of her aunt who can avenge but not forgive. Only by freeing herself from the past will Hang be able to find dignity and a future.
This book was an excellent look at the affects of Communism on the lives of the characters who lived in a small village in Hanoi. The characters are very vivid and well developed. The author describes all the sights, smells, emotions, and foods that are eaten. Although the book is quite sad, the author's liberation at the end is very up-lifting. Anyone interested in Vietnamese history and culture outside of the Vietnam War will find this book very interesting and thought provoking.