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Cold War FriendshipsKorea, Vietnam, and Asian American Literature$
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Josphine Nock-Hee Park

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190257668

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190257668.001.0001

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Fabricating Friends in Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge

Fabricating Friends in Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge

(p.195) 7 Fabricating Friends in Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge
Cold War Friendships

Josephine Nock-Hee Park

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 reads Lan Cao’s autobiographical novel Monkey Bridge as a purifying fiction that revives the Cold War friendly. Cao’s protagonist carefully detaches herself from her grandfather, exposed as a covert NLF operative, and her mother, who is likened to Madame Nhu, the ultimate bad friend of Vietnam. Detaching herself from these damaged souls, she folds herself into an American family via a Green Beret rehabilitated into a conquering, yet kindly, hero. This chapter reads this idealized alliance against Cao’s second novel. The Lotus and the Storm features an elegiac portrait of her father—a prominent figure in the South Vietnamese military leadership—whose friendliness overshadow Cao’s alter ego.

Keywords:   Monkey Bridge, The Lotus and the Storm, Lan Cao, Ngo Dinh Diem, Madame Nhu

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