Poet and short story writer Dinh’s debut novel portrays his native Vietnam from the war through the end of the twentieth century. The tale centers on Kim Lan, who owns the Paris by Night restaurant in Saigon; her husband Hoang Long, an army enlistee who is gone for years at a time; and their daughter Hoa, whose relationship with the leader of the punk band Love like Hate symbolizes the country’s growing modernity. With wry humor, Dinh describes the Vietnamese view of America garnered from Hollywood exports, “the root cause of America’s immigration problems.” He skewers everything in postwar Vietnam, from the exiting American soldiers, “going back to their sweethearts and Chevies,” leaving their offspring behind, to the Hanoi regime of the late 1970s and 1980s, which “systematically destroyed” an entire society. By the 1990s, one character returning to America disparages his countrymen who, rushing to become modern, have “swapped their vegetable patches, carp ponds, pigs and geese for a fake pair of Levi’s.” At once caustic and humorous, harshly critical and nostalgic, Dinh’s overview of his homeland is unfailingly honest. –Deborah Donovan –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.