A grandson tries to learn the family story. But what kind of story is it? Is it a prison memoir, about the grandfather imprisoned without charge or trial by a revolutionary government? Is it an oral history of the grandmother left behind to look after the children? Or is it a love story? A detective tale?
Moving from 1930s Hanoi through a series of never-ending wars and displacements to Saigon, Paris, Melbourne and Cambridge, Anam is a novel about memory and inheritance, colonialism and belonging, home and exile. Anam blends fiction and essay, theory and everyday life to imagine that which has been repressed, left out, and forgotten. The grandson mines his family and personal stories to turn over ideas that resonate with all of us around place and home, legacy and expectation, ambition and sacrifice. As he sifts through letters, photographs, government documents and memories, he has his own family to think about- a partner and an infant daughter. Is there a way to remember the past that creates a future for them? Or does coming home always involve a certain amount of forgetting?