Yeti Reads: Catfish and Mandala

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

by Andrew X. Pham

Long-term travelers know the perils of book exchanges.  Unless you read German, for instance, half of them will be verboten by sake of language.  Most of the others are dog-eared Stephen King novels or out-of-date travel books.  Worst of all are the thousands of copies of Twilight that now litter hostels and lodges around the world.

Every once in a while, though, an exceptional book finds its way through.   We found one in Ko Samui, Thailand, that is almost the perfect travel book–Catfish and Madala.  Pham’s prose is read-aloud excellent, the story full of adventure, pathos, and discovery, and the back story is expertly woven into the narrative.  I’d go so far as to say that I haven’t read a better piece of travel writing. It comes with the highest possible recommendation.

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