Thi Bui

“Tracing our journey in reverse … over the ocean, through the war, seeking an origin story, that will set everything right.” – The Best We Could Do, 2019

“Thi Bui’s stark, compelling memoir is about an ordinary family, but her story delivers the painful truth that most Vietnamese of the 20th century know in an utterly personal fashion—that history is found in the marrow of one’s bones, ready to be passed on through blood, through generations, through feelings. A book to break your heart and heal it.”

– Viet Thanh Nguyen

Research Questions

In “Migrations, Diasporas, and Borders,” Susan Stanford Friedman writes: “Diaspora is migration plus loss, desire, and widely scattered communities held together by memory and a sense of history over a long period of time.” (269) How are these concepts of migration, loss, desire, community, memory, and history woven together in Thi Bui’s graphic memoir The Best We Could Do?

How does The Best We Could Do fit the literary genre of bildungsroman? How does it surpass or push back against the traditional conventions of this genre? Use Thi Bui’s work as a departure point for discussing/theorizing a more nuanced genre of “diasporic bildungsroman.”

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