Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Sorrow Of War

This morning I finished one of the books recommended to me. The book is called "The Sorrow Of War" by Bao Ninh. I have read many books about the Vietnam war but this is the first one I've read that was written by a North Vietnamese soldier.

The book was extremely well written and proves to me once again that there are no winners in war. The other underlining theme of the novel is that wars don't end when treaties are signed. Wars stick with people forever. The author wrote: "Each of us carried in his heart a separate war which in many ways was totally different, despite our common cause. We had different memories of people we'd known and of the war itself, and we had different destinies in the postwar years. Our only postwar similarities stemmed from the fact that everyone had experienced difficult, painful, and different fates."

There are many powerful stories and images within the novel but perhaps the most powerful thing of all is when you read the last page. After the novel is finished, on a single page is the paragraph about the author. It says: "Bao Ninh served with the Glorious 27th Youth Brigade. Of the five hundred who went to war with the Brigade in 1969, he is one of ten who survived. He lives in Hanoi."


aristotle said...

A very good book indeed! But because of his newly opened-minded ideology about this sensitive topic, Bao Ninh has got a lot of troubles with authorities. I've heard that someone (Vietnamese and Americans) are trying to put the story in film but I am not sure how things are going.

Benjamin said...

That's very interesting. While reading the book I thought a few times, "I'm surprised Bao Ninh can write some of the things about communism and the government that he wrote." Obviously freedom of speech isn't the same in Vietnam and America so some of the things he wrote were quite brave to publish.

I don't know if the book is going to be made into a movie but I would love to see it.

Anonymous said...

Ben, Please physically visit Bao Ninh before it's too late to visit with this national Icon. Bao Ninh is a living historical figure comparative to having Thomas Jefferson or Rudyard Kipling available for an interview this afternoon! Continued good luck to you and yours Ben. LH in KY

Benjamin said...


Any idea how to get in touch with Bao Ninh? I've gotten a few emails from Vietnamese friends who have never heard of him. I wonder if he is much better known outside of Vietnam?

Anonymous said...

call his publisher?

Dalatian said...

Bao Ninh is well known among intellects and students in Viet Nam. You shouldn't have any difficulty to find someone who can give you leads for contact info.