July 10, 2024

There are several abrupt shifts in pace, tone, and action throughout the events of the book, such as when the chaos of the violent French mob punctures Takeshi and Tuyet’s trip to Saigon and when Tuyet’s conscription to the garrison ends the family’s steady life in the mountains. Relative peace turns quickly to devastating violence. What do you think the narrative purpose of these sudden shifts is? What do they say about the tumult of wartime?

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Pam Harlow

I think the abruptness is to show how quickly life can shift when living in wartime. It was a bit shocking to me as the reader but it helped me realize as a western reader most of us have not experienced this hash reality of war. It paints the picture very clearly that violence can come upon people suddenly and alter their course forever.

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