The Reeducation of Cherry Truong: A Novel
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"The Reeducation of Cherry Truong transcends ethnicity and culture and dives headlong into the plight of being human….Aimee Phan's prose is beautifully intricate yet powerful in what it reveals and exposes."---Jennie Shortridge, author of Eating Heaven
Cherry Truong's parents have exiled her wayward older brother from their Southern California home, sending him to Vietnam to live with distant relatives. Determined to bring him back, twenty-one-year-old Cherry travels to her family's native country and finds herself on a journey to uncover decades-old secrets---hidden loves, desperate choices, and lives ripped apart by the march of war and the currents of history.
The Reeducation of Cherry Truong is the sweeping story of two spirited and unforgettable families---the Truongs and the Vos---and their yearning for reconciliation, redemption, and a place to call home.
into his lap and then lifts up one of the letters. “Haven’t we moved on to e-mails?” he asks. “They’re not from me.” He opens the first one, reads a few lines and puts it down. He glances at the other letter and sets it aside as well. “Where did you get these?” he asks. “Grandmère gave me Grandpère’s letters,” Cherry says. “And what about Mom’s?” “I found hers in Grandmother Vo’s closet a few months ago. A whole box of them. She was going to throw them away.” “So that’s what made you
but I don’t know who else could be reading this letter. I can only ask that you trust me, a difficult and perhaps impossible request. Please believe me. This wasn’t my choice. Why couldn’t I tell you? Why didn’t I respect you enough to tell you personally? I tried to find the words, but they would not come. How can you tell your own mother that you are abandoning her? What kind of daughter would do that? I am not that kind of daughter. I will make this up to you. If you’ve taught me anything,
cursing. These players only muttered their calls and folds. Even when someone won a hand, he simply swept his arm to collect the chips. Quynh returned from the kitchen and handed Duyen another beer and Cherry a glass of tap water. Between hands, Quynh would replenish the players’ drinks and empty out the cereal bowls they were using for ashtrays. She did this so naturally, Cherry wondered how long she’d been tending to these games, how long Lum had been playing in them. To pass the time, Cherry
watch the winning bastard skip away with money that should be hers. She also began to suspect the cards were fixed. Kim-Ly couldn’t control what number patterns she bought and she had to work fast to mark the called numbers with the dauber. Kim-Ly’s eyes were not as sharp as they once were. With SuperLotto, the rules were simpler and fairer. The Lotto didn’t punish the slow. After several hours, Kim-Ly grew bored. She’d depleted nearly half of her leisure money that day, and at the rate they
again, relieved. “Relationships when you are too young can cause a lot of waste in your heart.” “Did you have boyfriends when you were my age?” “The only young men I knew besides your grandpère were family. We did not socialize like you and your cousins do now.” She sometimes felt grateful for this. She did not enjoy watching Cam suffer these last few years, and disliked how the Bourdains snubbed their family every Sunday at Mass, all due to Petit Michel’s callousness. She hated how secretive