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The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam…

The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam (original 1991; edition 1996)

by Bao Ninh (Author), Frank Palmos (Editor), Phan Thanh Hao (Translator)

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9031418,522 (3.88)70
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 nonheroic, nonideological tone, The Sorrow of War has won worldwide acclaim and become an international bestseller.… (more)
Title:The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam
Authors:Bao Ninh (Author)
Other authors:Frank Palmos (Editor), Phan Thanh Hao (Translator)
Info:Riverhead Books (1996), Edition: Reprint, 240 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam by Bao Ninh (1991)

  1. 20
    The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (ateolf, chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: A similar account, from the enemy perspective.
  2. 10
    Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (rebeccanyc)
    rebeccanyc: Whether American or Vietnamese, the experience of the Vietnam/American war was shared, and these two books explore the experience of fighting and remembering from differing perspectives.
  3. 10
    Novel without a Name by Dương Thu Hương (DavidLaw)
    DavidLaw: The Vietnam War from the Vietnamese point of view. The horrors of war are exposed while the more pleasant times of pre-war Vietnam are presented in flashback form. The Vietnamese spirit in the face of unrelenting horror, starvation and exhaustion make clear why victory in this war was unattainable for America (as indeed, the French learned previously at Dien Bien Phu). Like Bao Ninh's The Sorrow of War, there is no glory in war, only in the spirit of the individual. That is something that Novel Without a Name shares with some of the finest of American novels dealing with the Vietnam War.… (more)

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» See also 70 mentions

English (13)  Dutch (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
The Vietnam War...the disillusion of a young couple in the brutality they encounter.
It's not a straightforward narrative...there are disjointed first person accounts of events experienced, then later accounts of their author- middle aged, a writer and a rather lost soul, still defined by the War, working on his memoir...and finally Bao Ninh himself (one assumes), crafting a narrative from the random pages he's acquired...

I can't say it hugely grabbed me , though it's an important account of a hideous time. ( )
  starbox | Feb 9, 2021 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!

How many stories have we seen about the Vietnam war? How many feature the North Vietnamese? This is the first I've seen.

It's fiction but I suspect a great deal is based on the author's experience. He was with the 27th Glorious Youth Brigade, which numbered 500 at the start. He was one of ten who survived.

The protagonist is Kien, a young man who joins the army at the beginning of the war and who survives attack after attack. He sees death almost daily while fighting, and returns home with memories of those who did not make it. In a disjointed way, the way memories take us, the book jolts from one incident to another and back to the present.

Kien falls in love as a teenager and cannot forget Phuong through all the long years, ten long years, and he finds her when he returns. But she is changed just as he is. Ultimately Kien spends most of his time in his little room, writing. Did Bao Ninh do the same? Is that how this novel got written?

The book does not speak from a political position. It is not about North Vietnam so much as it is about war itself, and particularly about such a long, bloody war. It is written simply, with restrained emotion, and is powerful because of that. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
very nice.(cats as robotic fanatics! the knock-off edition with typos is rad) ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
This was a great look into the mind of a man whose life, and those of his friends and girlfriend had been stolen by war.

I'd have given it 5 stars if it finished on page 209 with the line: "...echoing somehow through the darkness." ( )
  StevenJohnTait | Jul 29, 2019 |
Painful to read; I could only read a few pages a day. But absorbing and revealing. I was there. This perspective was enlightening. After all, we were the enemy. ( )
  Joelwb | Oct 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Excellent novel as soldier become writer tries to fulfill his obligations to his generation and write about their history while he mourns and tries to recreate the love he felt before the war. Wide in sweep, terrible in its sorrow of war....

“The ones who loved war were not the young men, but the others, like politician, middle aged men with fat bellies and short legs. Not the ordinary people. The recent years of war had brought enough suffering and pain to last them a thousand years.”

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bao Ninhprimary authorall editionscalculated
Palmos, FrankEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Phan Huy, DuongTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Phan Thanh HaoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On the banks of the Ya Crong Poco River, on the northern flank of the B3 battlefield in the Central Highlands, the Missing in Action body-collecting team awaits the dry season of 1976.
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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 nonheroic, nonideological tone, The Sorrow of War has won worldwide acclaim and become an international bestseller.

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Average: (3.88)
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