Hà, Brother Quang, Brother Vū, and Brother Khôi’s father never appears in person in the novel, as he’s been missing in action for the last nine years. He was a member of the South Vietnamese navy and was abducted one day while on a mission; nobody knows where he is, or if he’s even alive. All Mother has of him is a portrait taken on Tet the year he disappeared, though she misses him so much that she can barely stand to look at it. Since Hà was only a baby when he disappeared, she tries to learn about Father from her brothers and from Mother, when Mother can be convinced to talk about him. Father loved stewed eels and his children more than anything—according to Brother Quang, he’d cry just watching them sleep. Father was a tall, thin, and serious man, though some of Brother Quang’s stories suggest that he loved to make Mother laugh. He and Mother were also very close and had known each other their whole lives, as they were promised to each other as five-year-olds and got married at age 16. Mother clings to the amethyst ring that Father brought her back from the U.S. as a symbol of their love and connection. When Mother learns that Father isn’t trapped in the North and loses her amethyst ring soon after, she decides these as signs that Father is dead. So, she and her children chant for his safe passage to the afterlife and let him go, which gives the family closure.