The Sorrow of War

by Bao Ninh | History |
ISBN: 9780749397111 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingApoloniaXwing of Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin Germany on 5/26/2009
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingApoloniaXwing from Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin Germany on Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"The Sorrow of War vaults over all the American fiction that came out of the Vietnam war to take it’s place alongside the greatest war novel of the 20th century, Eric Remarque’s All Quiet On The Western Front. And this is to understate its qualities, for unlike All Quiet. It is a novel about much more than war. A book about writing, about lost youth, it is also a beautiful, agonising love story... a magnificent achievement" (Independent)

"This hauntingly beautiful novel, written by a North Vietnamese Army veteran, manages to humanise completely a people who until now have usually been cast as robotic fanatics" (Sunday Times)

"Kien, the protagonist of this rambling and sometimes nearly incoherent but emotionally gripping account of the Vietnam war, is a 10-year veteran whose experiences bear a striking similarity to those of the author, a Hanoi writer who fought with the Glorious 27th Youth Brigade. The novel opens just after the war, with Kien working in a unit that recovers soldiers' corpses. Revisiting the sites of battles raises emotional ghosts for him, "a parade of horrific memories" that threatens his sanity, and he finds that writing about those years is the only way to purge them. Juxtaposing battle scenes with dreams and childhood remembrances as well as events in Kien's postwar life, the book builds to a climax of brutality. A trip to the front with Kien's childhood sweetheart ends with her noble act of sacrifice, and it becomes clear to the reader that, in Vietnam, purity and innocence exist only to be besmirched. Covering some of the same physical and thematic terrain as Novel Without a Name (see above), The Sorrow of War is often as chaotic in construction as the events it describes. In fact, it is untidy and uncontrolled, like the battlefield it conveys. The point of view slips willy-nilly from the third person to the first, without any clear semblance of organization. The inclusion of a deaf mute who falls for Kien, and acts for a while as a witness to his life, seems gratuitous. The faults of this book are also its strengths, however. Its raggedness aptly evokes the narrator's feverish view of a dangerous and unpredictable world. And its language possesses a ferocity of expression that strikes the reader with all the subtlety of a gut-punch. Polishing this rough jewel would, strangely, make it less precious."

Journal Entry 2 by wingApoloniaXwing at on Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Released 15 yrs ago (5/27/2009 UTC) at



RABCK als Vietnam-Beitrag für die 1 Jahr=1Land challenge, unterwegs zu unknown-user

Journal Entry 3 by unknown-user from Münster, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Friday, May 29, 2009
Ganz herzlichen Dank für das Angebot und fürs Schicken! Ist heute angekommen und ich freu mich aufs lesen.

I don't think it ever took me so long to read a book of 217 pages. And it wasn't a boring book at all. It was difficult reading this book, as it deals with the very experience of a soldier. Bao Ninh confronts the reader with many details, with the brutality of war - with the sorrow of war, after all. I was shocked by how cruel people can turn out to be, even the 'good ones'.

I will reserve the book for a bookbox that is going to stop by some time soon: Urla's Spotlight on Asia Box.

Journal Entry 4 by unknown-user at Book Box, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, November 28, 2009

Released 14 yrs ago (11/28/2009 UTC) at Book Box, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases



In der Spotlight-Asien-Box von Urla geht dieses Buch nun wieder auf Reisen.

Journal Entry 5 by Oedde from Darmstadt, Hessen Germany on Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I took this book out of Urla's bookbox, hoping to get around to reading it some time soon. I've recently read another book set in the Vietnam war and that's partly why I chose this one.

Journal Entry 6 by Oedde at Frankfurt am Main, Hessen Germany on Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Released 10 yrs ago (1/14/2014 UTC) at Frankfurt am Main, Hessen Germany


Having tried to read this a couple of times and having given up finally after 50 pages yesterday, I brought this to a meetup in Frankfurt and gave it away there. I hope someone else will be able to appreciate this more than I did.

Journal Entry 7 by wildboarhunter at Frankfurt am Main, Hessen Germany on Friday, January 17, 2014
This book found it's way into my bag at the meetup. I'm going to try to read it for a challenge. But it may take some time...

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