Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam

By Andrew X Pham

Published by Picador USA (2000)

Catfish and Mandala is the story of an American odyssey--a solo bicycle voyage around the Pacific Rim to Vietnam--made by a young Vietnamese-American man in pursuit of both his adopted homeland and his forsaken fatherland.

Andrew X. Pham was born in Vietnam and raised in California. His father had been a POW of the Vietcong; his family came to America as "boat people." Following the suicide of his sister, Pham quit his job, sold all of his possessions, and embarked on a year-long bicycle journey that took him through the Mexican desert, around a thousand-mile loop from Narita to Kyoto in Japan; and, after five months and 2,357 miles, to Saigon, where he finds "nothing familiar in the bombed-out darkness." In Vietnam, he's taken for Japanese or Korean by his countrymen, except, of course, by his relatives, who doubt that as a Vietnamese he has the stamina to complete his journey ("Only Westerners can do it"); and in the United States he's considered anything but American. A vibrant, picaresque memoir written with narrative flair and an eye-opening sense of adventure, Catfish and Mandala is an unforgettable search for cultural identity.

Click here to buy in our Amazon store.

Associated Tours

view our library

Subscribe to Our E-Newsletter

For up to date news as well as details about all of our tours please subscribe to our fortnightly e-newsletter by entering your name and e-mail address below ...