PHONG NHA, THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN SMILE by Tammy Nguyen
125 x 205mm, 48 pages, black and white printed, saddle stitched, 2020
Phong Nha, the Making of an American Smile is a story about a girl who was born missing two of her front teeth and the journey it took to correct this defect. It is also a story about cave formations in Phong Nha, Vietnam; a manmade island called Forest City located along the Strait of Malacca; and the famous tale of three prisoners staring at shadows in a cave. As Nguyen’s ranging narrative moves through autobiography, politics, geology, and philosophy, it reveals fissures in the notion of shared truth while illuminating how stories, true or not, often serve as moral compasses.