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Past: A Journey Through Closed Memories by Nguyen Duy Tri 2022

Nguyen Duy Tri’s “Closed Memories” (2022) is more than just a novel; it’s a portal to a forgotten past, shimmering with the remnants of love, loss, and unspoken truths. Set against the backdrop of a Vietnamese family grappling with buried emotions, the story invites us on a poignant journey through time and memory. Through the eyes of our protagonist, a young woman named Lan, we delve into a world where sunlight illuminates hidden secrets, relationships flicker like dying embers, and the search for self becomes intertwined with the unraveling of a family’s history.

Shadows of the Past

Lan’s present is haunted by the shadows of her past, a childhood shrouded in the absence of her father and the cryptic silence surrounding his disappearance. The warmth of the Vietnamese sun casts an ironic reflection on the coldness of her memories, highlighting the void left by his absence. This sense of incompleteness permeates her life, fueling a yearning to understand the man who remains a ghost in her family’s narrative.

Confronting Family History

The narrative unfolds as Lan embarks on a quest to reclaim her past. Driven by a thirst for knowledge and a yearning for closure, she confronts her family, their silences a testament to the pain they’ve buried deep within. Each tense conversation peels back another layer of the onion, revealing fragments of a complicated history filled with unspoken apologies and regrets. These confrontations become cathartic journeys, not just for Lan but for the entire family, allowing them to finally confront the ghosts of the past and start the process of healing.

The Last Sunshine

The title, “Closed Memories,” becomes a poignant motif throughout the novel. Sunlight, often associated with warmth and clarity, paradoxically illuminates the darkness of the past. It acts as a catalyst for memory, triggering flashbacks and forcing characters to confront their buried emotions. The image of the “last sunshine” becomes a powerful symbol of both closure and new beginnings, marking the end of the search for the past and the dawn of a future informed by understanding and acceptance.

The Power of Storytelling

“Closed Memories” celebrates the power of storytelling as a tool for healing and reconciliation. Lan’s journey is fueled by her discovery of her father’s letters, each carefully penned word filling the gaps in her understanding of him. Sharing these stories with her family becomes a bridge across generations, allowing them to connect with the emotions they had suppressed for so long. This act of shared storytelling becomes a testament to the power of communication and vulnerability, paving the way for forgiveness and acceptance.

Identity Reclaimed

Throughout her search for the truth about her father, Lan also undergoes a journey of self-discovery. As she confronts the complexities of her family’s history, she begins to understand the roots of her own choices and desires. The process of piecing together her father’s story becomes a parallel journey of finding her own place in the world, ultimately leading to a stronger sense of self and a newfound appreciation for her family’s legacy.

A Tapestry of Vietnamese Culture

“Closed Memories” is not just a personal story; it’s a window into the tapestry of Vietnamese culture. The novel delves into traditional customs, family dynamics, and the enduring importance of respect for elders. These cultural nuances are woven seamlessly into the narrative, enriching the story and offering readers a glimpse into the heart of Vietnamese society.

A Poignant Reflection on Loss and Redemption

Ultimately, “Closed Memories” is a poignant reflection on loss, love, and the enduring power of family. It reminds us that the past, however painful, holds the key to understanding ourselves and those around us. The novel doesn’t shy away from portraying the raw emotions of grief and regret, but ultimately offers a message of hope and redemption. It shows that even in the darkest corners of the past, there is always light to be found, waiting to illuminate the path to forgiveness and self-acceptance.


“Closed Memories” culminates in a bittersweet symphony of acceptance and forgiveness. Lan, having unearthed the truth about her father, stands at a crossroads. The shadows of the past still linger, but the warmth of the “last sunshine” bathes her in a newfound understanding. She embraces the complex tapestry of her family history, recognizing that even the darkest threads contribute to the richness of the whole.

The novel doesn’t offer easy answers. It acknowledges the pain of loss, the complexities of relationships, and the ongoing struggle for self-discovery. But within this darkness, Nguyen Duy Tri weaves a thread of hope, reminding us that even the most painful memories can be doorways to healing and transformation.


1. Is “Closed Memories” a historical novel?

While the novel is set in contemporary Vietnam, it delves into the family’s past, exploring events and experiences from earlier generations. This mix of past and present creates a nuanced portrait of Vietnamese society and its evolution over time.

2. Is the book translated into English?

Yes, “Closed Memories” is available in English translation, making its poignant story accessible to a wider audience.

3. What are some of the major themes explored in the book?

Family secrets, loss, grief, forgiveness, self-discovery, the power of storytelling, and the importance of facing the past are some of the key themes that resonate throughout the narrative.

4. Is the book suitable for younger readers?

The novel deals with mature themes like loss and family conflict. While not explicitly graphic, it might be best suited for older teens and adults.

5. Where can I find more information about Nguyen Duy Tri?

Unfortunately, information about Nguyen Duy Tri is scarce online. However, immersing yourself in the beauty of “Closed Memories” itself is the best way to connect with the author’s vision and artistry.

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