House on Dream Street
By Dana Sachs
Review by Allison Martin
Have you ever felt the urge to leave your current life on hold and settle in Vietnam for a little while? Dana Sachs did just that. In 1989 while backpacking in Asia, Dana Sachs feel in love with Vietnam - a feeling that was to last a lifetime. She explains, that "Over the course of all these years, some part of my soul reserved itself for Vietnam. When I went there, it became alive again.When I left, it retreated."
The House on Dream Street is the story of her sojourn in Vietnam; where she explores day to day life in Ha Noi. As she becomes intimately involved in the activities and lives of her circle of acquaintances - her landlords and their extended families, neighbors and the street cafes on Dream Street (where she lives), and ultimately her lover, she beings to see beneath the surface and to discover Vietnam as it is, rather than as she expected.
Readers will enjoy this personal account of life in Vietnam. Dana Sachs learns about things that most Vietnamese people have learned as children and take for granted - peasant cooking, rudimentary Vietnamese, cultural nuances, government omnipotence and struggle to overcome poverty. She has a gift for recounting each conversation verbatim, so that the account of her time flows swiftly as you read. Interspersed with the dialogue are her thoughtful comments on Vietnamese life and her personal reactions to events.
Anyone interested in current everyday life in Vietnam as seen through the eyes of an American will enjoy this book.
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