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The displacement felt in these moments is like a gut punch, and I can feel my children feeling it, through my feeling it. They watch me as I read to them. I, too, am a refugee, I tell them. What a thing it is to be removed from a land, to flee from it, to begin again.
Paul Bonnell reviews Phuong T. Vuong's The House I Inherit. In “What my father gives me,” Vuong writes: my father who gives me / salted lemons / makes offerings / when my silence seems / too prickly for much else / my father so good / at surviving / even his preserved lemons / stay afloat in salt water
A single woman supplied with a folding chair and multiple voices was able to render an entire audience paralyzed with grief. By the end of the show, it seemed clear that while this began as a tale seeking revenge, it was actually a tale of a daughter seeking to understand, connect, and honor her mother by any means necessary, even if it meant ripping apart scars by uncovering her and her family’s unaddressed trauma.
“Ahhh, giống chúng mình quá,” my mother said when I finished the book. “I don’t eat fried grasshoppers but I understand.” It’s this cross-cultural understanding that Vilayvanh Bender seeks to establish in her children’s book. The wish for parents and children to connect is as ancient as language itself, breaking cultural barriers and generational barriers...