The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam [Bao Ninh, Frank Palmos, Phan Thanh Hao] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The daring and. The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam. Bao, Author, Bao Ninh, Author, Frank Palmos, Editor Pantheon Books $21 (p) ISBN Fifteen years after Bao Ninh’s admired war novel, he explains his When it was first published 15 years ago, Ninh’s novel, The Sorrow of War.
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The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh | : Books
Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Sorrow of War: Bao Ninh, a former North Vietnamese soldier, provides a strikingly honest look at how the Vietnam War forever changed his life, his country, and the people who live there.
Originally published against government wishes in Vietnam because of its non-heroic, non-ideological tone, The Sorrow of War has won worldwide acclaim and become an international bestseller. Paperbackpages.
Published April 1st by Riverhead Books first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Sorrow of Warplease sign up.
See 1 question nninh The Sorrow of War…. Lists with This Book. Mar 07, BlackOxford rated it really liked it Shelves: The Future Lied To Us A reminiscence, rather than a memoir, tumbling between the time before war, eleven years of brutal fighting, and then its aftermath. Shifting from first to third person, with the occasional second person sorrrow, the story is as unstructured as the lives involved. And none of it is politically correct: The ones who loved war were not the young men, but the others like the politicians, middle-aged men with fat bellies and short legs.
Not the ordinary people. The recent ye The Future Lied To Us A reminiscence, rather than a niinh, tumbling between the time before war, eleven years of brutal fighting, and then its aftermath. The recent years of war had brought enough suffering and pain to last them a thousand years.
Inevitably he loses not only his civilized existence but his identity. His peace sprrow as a worn out alcoholic, all his family, friends, and comrades dead.
Unable to sustain any sort of intimate relationship, all he can do is remember. In this kind of peace it seems people have unmasked themselves and revealed their true, horrible selves. So much blood, so many lives were sacrificed for what? He writes as a form of therapy, to rid himself of the devils, his memories, that now constitute his personality.
All he has is these devils, these ghosts, who appear in flashbacks, spontaneous violence, recurrent dreams of disaster and a depressive lethargy. Only by writing about them can he exorcise their power. The little trust and will to live that remains stems not from my illusions but from the power of my recall. The sorrow of war. Losses can be made good, damage can be repaired and wounds will heal in time. But the psychological scars of the war will remain forever. The flow of his life focused and refocused and each moment of that stream was recalled, each event, each memory was a drop of water in his nameless, ageless river.
He could feel happy that his soul would find solace in the wag of sentiments from his youth.
He returned time and time again to his love, his friendship, his comradeship, those human bonds which had awr helped us overcome the thousand sufferings of the war.
The future had lied but it did not destroy the past – for the reader who is in the present. View all 18 comments.
Oct 05, Will Byrnes rated it really liked it. Kien is a survivor of the Viet Nam war, a North Vietnamese survivor. This book is written by a North Vietnamese writer and clearly evokes much of his experience in what was a much longer war for the Vietnamese than it was for Americans. The similarities between the affects of war on all sides are clear, but this tale is uniquely home grown. The story is told in several different time lines. Kien recalls his youth, his early years in the military, a time ten years after he entered the war, events Kien is a survivor of the Viet Nam war, a North Vietnamese survivor.
Kien recalls his youth, his early years in the military, a time ten years after he entered the war, events later in the war, the period at its conclusion and a thread in what is the character’s contemporary post-war. His central relationship is with his childhood sweetheart Phuong and one wonders here whether the name is merely a very common Vietnamese given name or if there might be an echo of The Quiet American at play here.
As the title indicates, sorrow is a central feature of the story. Kien recalls a parade of figures from his personal history, family members, people from his neighborhood, his first awakening of sexual feelings.
Virtually all of his comrades in arms were killed. There is one killing field in particular that chills him. His post-war work of travelling the nation attempting to identify the remains of the thousands of unmarked dead so that their families could get closure keeps him close to the ghosts of those who had passed.
Yes, he sees ghosts. They are legion, and it appears to be his lot to see them and attempt to bring them some peace. Sometimes there is nothing he can do but be a witness to them. The many characters are interesting and engaging if short-lived.
Lofty Thinh was a soldier sogrow had slain an orang. And when the company saw the corpse they were freaked out at how closely it resembled a woman. Can was a deserter who died alone in the jungle. Green Coffee Girl was the sister of a friend of his from childhood, a hooker as an adult.
Kien saved her from an assault. Hoa was an inept year old female guide who sacrificed herself so the troop she was attempting to lead to safety could avoid being killed by an American search and destroy team. There is much back and forth among the timelines. Kien lives in a world alive with the ghosts of memory and what soldier does not? There is also much in here about writing. It was clear that this was a difficult book for Ninh bo write and he reflects on the process in the novel itself.
While it is not at a level with true literary giants, this is a very nice read, a wonderful first book by a gifted writer.
Why Vietnam’s best-known author has stayed silent
I hope to find more by him. View all 7 comments. This is a book that every veteran who saw combat in Vietnam should read. It gives the other side and points up so poignantly the universal suffering of all soldiers.
It helped me to come to an understanding that none of the anger and resentment I feel about my service in Indochina had anything to do with those we called the enemy but towards those who put us where we were;who trained us to fight and steel our hearts towards those who were always referred to as “gooks, dinks, or nogs”;those who c This is a book that every veteran who saw combat in Vietnam should read. It helped me to come to an understanding that none of the anger and resentment I feel about my service in Indochina had anything to do with those we called the enemy but towards those who put us where we were;who trained us to fight and steel our hearts towards those who were always referred to as “gooks, dinks, or nogs”;those who cynically betrayed us over and over again from beginning to end and who continue to betray us as they seek to limit what they must give in compensation for wounds suffered, physical and mental,to keep their position, their benefits their reputations and what they see as their rightful slice of “the pie”.
They try to gloss over the depth of their betrayal and their absolute lack of morality with fine words about the flag and sacrifice and tradition and by passing out a few more medals 40 years too late but they fail to understand the depth and breadth of the impact of their actions, then and now.
Bastards; may they rot in hell! I feel much more for the enemies they set up for us, more compassion, more in common with them. I wish with the same breath that I use to curse our politicians to hell, that those who were my enemy may rest or live in peace.
View all 4 comments. Jul 02, Ben Jaques-Leslie rated it it was amazing. Sometimes when you read a book in translation, it’s hard to tell who to congratulate on a job well done. Is it the author or the translator?
In the case of the Sorrow of War, the credit most certainly goes to the author, Bao Ninh. It is amazing that this book can be some horrifying and heart-wrenching through such a poor translation.
When I was sordow Vietnam inI saw the author speak about this book to our class. He wasn’t exactly popular with the Vietnamese tue Sometimes when you read a book in translation, it’s hard to tell who to congratulate on a job well done.
The Sorrow of War – Wikipedia
He wasn’t exactly popular with the Vietnamese government. If you’re interested in the Vietnam War, absolutely read this book. Feb 09, Courtney Lindwall rated it it was ok Recommends it for: My main problem with this book, besides the general lack of character development and plot, is that its overall theme seems overdone. The novel follows the story of a North Vietnamese soldier that loses love and faces the hardships of a physical, but also emotional war.
Now, it might have been the fact that I had read Things They Carried and Red Badge of Courage only months before, but writing a story about the idea that war causes “emotional struggles” is not new. It is no longer controversia My main problem with this book, besides the general lack of character development and plot, is that its overall theme seems overdone. It is no longer controversial to depict the front lines as something other than noble and heroic.
Because I know that this novel was controversial in Northern Vietnam, I can understand the rise of its popularity and reputation. At the sotrow, unveiling a side of the soldier qar was not unfalteringly dedicated to die for their country was brazen. I’m not taken aback by its profundity. For its historical value, perhaps, the novel has merit.