Title : The Mountains Sing
Author : Phan Qué̂ Mai Nguyẽ̂n
Publisher : Oneworld Publications
Pages : 342
Genre : Historical Fiction
About The Book :
With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Tran family, set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War. Tran Dieu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Noi, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ho Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that will tear not just her beloved country but her family apart.
Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Viet Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. This is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s first novel in English.
War. It leaves an imprint so deep that it seeps through generations. This book had me experience war in a way that made me feel vulnerable, despondent and heartbroken.
There is basically no introduction needed for this book has already received quite the praise that it rightfully deserves. We’ve all read about the Vietnam War but I haven’t read one which accounts for real loss and suffering of the people of Vietnam. So this new, groundbreaking perspective shook me from within. I felt Vietnam talking to me, sighing and breathing to life as she narrated the mishaps, the pain and despair of her people through the voice of a young girl and an old woman : a duo of granddaughter and grandmother.
Truth, carefully shielded with a powerful story is what takes this novel up a notch. The writing style is impeccable and clearly validates the author’s hard work and dedication.
The characters are real and larger than life and it isn’t hard to get attached easily. I also appreciate the fact that both external and internal reasons were pointed out which had affected the well-being of the people of Vietnam.
The Mountains Sing is a prelude to the heart of Vietnam, mindfully pieced together to compose a song far too familiar and salient even to the ears of nescient listeners.
5 Stars 🌟
Review by Sayantoni | @thegirlonthego_reads