The Sorrow of War
4 journalers for this copy...
"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."
Released 12 yrs ago (5/27/2009 UTC) at
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
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.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
In der Spotlight-Asien-Box von Urla geht dieses Buch nun wieder auf Reisen.