MoCCA presents VIETNAMERICA: A Family’s Journey

by Jeff

nov101056 MoCCA presents VIETNAMERICA: A Family's JourneyMedia Release — Come join rising talent GB Tran and the MoCCA community for a special event—the launch of GB’s incredible graphic memoir, VIETNAMERICA: A Family’s Journey, a new, full-color hardcover from Villard Books. As part of MoCCA’s acclaimed MoCCA Thursdays series, GB will discuss the core of VIETNAMERICA: the story behind his family’s survival and escape during the Vietnam War, their reinvention as refugees in the United States, and his own discovery about how the past we don’t know can shape and define us. A book signing will follow a Q&A session. Free wine will be served.

Library Journal compares Vietnamerica to Art Spiegelman’s classic Maus, calling it a “kick-in-the-gut graphic novel”—discover for yourself the incredible passion behind such a personal story.

From The Library Journal:

“This will be called the Maus for the Vietnam War, and for good reason. Similar premise: clueless American-born son of immigrants confronts the legacy of family pain predating his birth. Says Tran’s mom, “We left Vietnam so you would NEVER have to know what it’s like”- that is, to be captured and tortured, or abandoned by partners, or have to flee approaching troops. Similar outcome: a kick-in-the-gut graphic novel. Many in Tran’s family each had several marriages or the equivalent: when your wife or husband disappears unexpectedly, you feed the children only by finding someone else, even a foreign officer. For Tran to work out the story of his parents’ escape to America, he had to assemble hundreds of fragments from and about more than a dozen people. Thus he purposely fragments the plot, shifting points of view, narrative voices, and settings while the reader – as did Tran – must assemble the pieces to learn how his parents became the people he knew (a family tree mid-book helps). VERDICT: Engaging, challenging, and disturbing. Tran’s family memoir belongs in all public and academic libraries; older teens and up for occasionally strong language and violence. The swirly, jagged color art fits the story perfectly. – M.C.”

From Publishers Weekly:

“Like Art Spiegelman’s Maus, this personal memoir tries to make sense of a shattered family history. Tran was born in America shortly after his family fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. However, he sees how deeply his parents still feel connected to their homeland, even as they can’t fully admit their dismay at being cut off from it. They have been forced to keep many secrets from others, and learned to keep many secrets from themselves, too. By visiting Vietnam and exploring memories, Tran learns how his grandfather, a lifelong Vietminh supporter, was horrified at the brutal results of the Communist victory and how his father became a glum autocrat after his career as an artist was destroyed. He watches how his parents interact uneasily with the swarm of relatives and friends they left behind. Now Tran tries to make sense of it all. The comic utilizes a dizzying barrage of effects to depict the characters’ confusing experience: different lettering styles, realistic action set against full-page government posters, sound effects swirling from panel to panel, action-packed panoramas breaking apart as South Vietnam collapses. The result is disturbing but also uplifting.”

VIETNAMERICA: A Family’s Journey Book Trailer:
GB Tran’s website:

MoCCA Thursdays
GB Tran’s VIETNAMERICA Book Launch

Thursday January 22nd, 2011 7pm
Free Admission courtesy of Random House Publishing and GB Tran

594 Broadway, Suite 401
btwn. Houston and Prince)
New York, NY 10012
Tel. 212-254-3511 Fax 212-254-3590
Hours: Tues-Sun 12pm-5pm
General Admission: $5
Children 12 and under: Free Admission
Group rates available, please call ahead!

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