Fourth Uncle in the Mountain: A Memoir of a Barefoot Doctor in Vietnam

Fourth Uncle in the Mountain: A Memoir of a Barefoot Doctor in Vietnam

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by Marjorie Pivar, Quang Van Nguyen
     
 

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Set during the French and American wars, Fourth Uncle in the Mountain is a true story about an orphan, Quang Van Nguyen, who is adopted by a sixty-four year old monk, Thau, who carries great responsibility for his people as a barefoot doctor. Thau manages, against all odds to raise his son to follow in his footsteps and in doing so, saves his son, as well as

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Overview

Set during the French and American wars, Fourth Uncle in the Mountain is a true story about an orphan, Quang Van Nguyen, who is adopted by a sixty-four year old monk, Thau, who carries great responsibility for his people as a barefoot doctor. Thau manages, against all odds to raise his son to follow in his footsteps and in doing so, saves his son, as well as a part of Vietnam's esoteric knowledge from the Vietnam holocaust.


Thau is wanted by the French regime, and occasionally must flee into the jungle, where he is perfectly at home living among the animals. Thau is not the average monk; he practices an ancient lineage of Chinese medicine and uses magic to protect animals and help people.


As wise and resourceful as Thau is, he meets his match in his mischievous son. Quang is more interested in learning Cambodian sorcery and martial arts than in developing his skills and wisdom according to his father's plan.


Fourth Uncle in the Mountain is an odyssey of a single-father folk hero and his foundling son in a land ravaged by the atrocities of war. It is a classic story, complete with humor, tragedy, and insight from a country where ghosts and magic are real.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In 1950, an abandoned infant in Vietnam is taken in by a 64-year-old monk, who raises him as his own son. He teaches the boy traditional healing arts and guides him to a number of teachers so that he may learn plant medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese characters. Without his father's knowledge, the boy also studies martial arts and sorcery. When he is 20, his father takes him to a forbidden mountain, where he stays for three years in a cave with his father's teacher, known as Fourth Uncle. Here he learns about the "possibilities of human consciousness." This true story of Van Nguyen's life as a traditional healer in a war-torn country is interesting in itself. Even more important, it is a fine record of traditional Vietnamese life and culture and a glimpse into a world where magic, sorcery, and other realities exist. The narrative was constructed from transcribed conversations between Van Nguyen and Pivar, a Shiatsu therapist who was inspired to record Van Nguyen's story after he saved her son's life. Though the resulting narrative is sometimes stilted and disjointed, the strong character development compensates for this flaw. Recommended for academic and public libraries. Jerry Shuttle, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466800991
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
10/03/2006
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
309,691
File size:
1 MB

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