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Read advance reader review of Banyan Moon by Thao Thai, page 4 of 5

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Banyan Moon

A Novel

by Thao Thai

Banyan Moon by Thao Thai X
Banyan Moon by Thao Thai
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2023, 336 pages

    Jun 4, 2024, 336 pages


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There are currently 35 member reviews
for Banyan Moon
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  • Margaret R. (St Marys, GA)
    Banyan Moon is a unusual story. Small list of characters keep this storyline on track. Three women of Asian lineage lives become intwined. The house handed down through the generations is a character. Decisions made effect all lives. Marriages, abuse, birth, and recovery are all themes. Wonderful read for those who enjoy different books.
  • Carmel B. (The Villages, FL)
    The American War
    I've never heard the "Vietnam War" called the "American War," but I imagine if you lived in Vietnam in the late 60s and early 70s, you would understand the twist. This is the first book I've read about this era, and I am enlightened at last. The tale is rich in tradition and family bonding that galvanizes three generations of women who turn the fragments of their unrealized dreams, broken promises, and immeasurable grief into a tapestry of reconciliation and love. This is not a forgotten story but one that has never been told – a story about people who gave up everything, suffered everything and scraped their way to independence for themselves and their progeny, and we never even noticed. Hope to see more from Thai.
  • Rebecca M. (Gulfport, FL)
    3 Strong Women, & a Strong Debut
    A story of a family but mostly of the 3 women in the family- Ann, the daughter of Huong, & Minh, Huong's mother & Ann's grandmother.

    Told in alternating chapters in the POV by one of these 3 women.
    These are women with very strong personalities & some secrets.

    Takes place mostly on the Gulf Coast of FL, but some throw backs to time in Vietnam.

    Very well written, started a little slow for me, but did not deter me from continuing. But overall, well written & a strong debut novel.
  • Diane J. (Grove City, PA)
    A tentative start to a satisfying end
    One of the characters in Banyan Moon bravely learns how to swim as an adult. As a reader, I was an awkward swimmer at the start of this novel, treading water and not sure if I could fully appreciate the life stories of the characters. In particular, I was irritated by the youngest (born in 1991) of the three generations of Vietnamese women. She seemed unreasonably disrespectful of her mother. I also wasn't sure if the similarities of all three women's life choices were meant to be a central theme or simply a coincidence.

    Thao Thai's beautiful descriptions and engaging dialogue guided me, however, so I could easily make it to the end of my swimming journey. I gained the needed insight to understand the past, present, and, to some degree, the future of these women. Best of all, the author provides a strong sense of place – from South Vietnam to the swamplands of Florida.

    I enjoyed experiencing Vietnamese culture through the eyes of the author. Thao Thai introduces the reader to the food, customs, and colloquial phrases of her Vietnamese heritage. Kudos for respectfully including the essential punctuation of the Vietnamese words. Thai is at her best when she describes events from the Vietnamese peoples' perspective. I craved more of it in this novel. Otherwise, a historical event reference felt obligatory and more like watching Walter Cronkite newscast.

    I look forward to seeing where Thai goes from here on her journey as an author.
  • Elise B. (Macedonia, OH)
    Banyan Moon
    Banyan Moon features three generations of Vietnamese women and their many broken relationships along the way. Thao Thai explores many different types of relationships in this book- primarily romantic, sibling, female friendship, and mother/daughter/grandmother. The central theme appears to be working through damaged relationships and Ms. Thai explores this from all angles. There is some Vietnamese traditions and history in this novel; however, not as much as I had hoped. My favorite quote in the book really summarizes the book in many ways: "I haven't forgiven her entirely, but I have found my way back to the love."
  • Susan N. (Sedona, AZ)
    Banyan Moon
    If you enjoy multigenerational novels, then this book is for you. The plot revolves around three generations of Vietnamese women: a grandmother, mother, and daughter. Their relationships are complex, full of love and resentments. The novel builds as the reader realizes the two older women each have a dark secret. The setting is primarily in a large gothic house in small town Florida. The grandmother's flashbacks occur in Vietnam towards the end of the American War. These scenes reveal the reason she immigrates to the US, which involves one of those secrets. I was surprised that the book was the author's, Thao Thai, debut novel as her writing style is emotive and mature for a new author. Overall, I recommend this book, even though some of the plot was a bit predictable.
  • Gail B
    Just as a banyan tree is supported by a web of roots, Ann Tran's family has many convictions seated in its past. Ann straddles her Vietnamese heritage and her life as a beautiful, exotic American girl. This is the story of strong women -- Minh, the matriarch who claws her way out of a peasant village in Vietnam to swampyland Florida, where she fights to create a better life for her children -- a needy, never-satisfied son and Ann's mother, Huong, a rival with her own mother for Ann's love. Ann and Huong struggle to reconcile old beliefs with new understanding.

    Although several threads of the story were underdeveloped, all considered, I appreciated Thao Thai's debut novel. Especially enchanting, the bedtime story of woodcutter Chu Cuoi and the Banyan Moon. The wisest line in the novel is Minh's: "If we lived in fear, we didn't linger in it."

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