Bao Ninh’s acclaimed Vietnam War novel on Chinese shelves

By Nghinh Xuan   April 4, 2019 | 11:30 am GMT+7

A Chinese translation of The Sorrow of War, Vietnamese author Bao Ninh’s famous novel, was published few days ago.

Noi Buon Chien Tranh (The Sorrow of War), a 1987 novel written in stream of consciousness style, tells the story of a veteran on a postwar mission to collect the bodies of his fallen comrades for reburial.

It features a series of flashbacks to before, during and after the war. The novel was translated into Chinese by Xia Lu, who has studied Vietnamese literature and the link between Vietnamese and Chinese literature for many years.

It is published by the Hunan Literature and Art Publishing House, which specializes in literature, art and music books and literary magazines.

Noi Buon Chien Tranh (The Sorrow of War) tells the story of a veteran on a postwar mission to collect the bodies of his fallen comrades for reburial.

Noi Buon Chien Tranh (The Sorrow of War) tells the story of a veteran on a postwar mission to collect the bodies of his fallen comrades for reburial.

Xia has said at several seminars that Bao Ninh’s work stands apart from the traditional Vietnamese novel in style and content.

In China, the book has been included in the curriculum of several prestigious universities, including Peking University.

Since the release of the Chinese translation, the book has received great praise from readers on Douban, a Chinese social network that allows users to share content related to film, books and music.

One reader (account Hubuhui) wrote: "This narrative book makes me feel like I am watching a documentary. This is the first time I have read a book by a Vietnamese author, and it has exceeded my expectations."

The book, first published as Than Phan Tinh Yeu (The Destiny of Love), has won several international awards including the 1994 Independent Foreign Fiction Award, the 2016 Shim Hun Literary Award in South Korea, the 2011 Asia Literature Award from Nihon Keizai Shimbun in Japan, and the 2018 Asia Literature Award.

It has been translated into various languages and published in around 20 economies, including Germany, South Korea and Denmark.

Bao Ninh, 67, born in Hanoi, was a soldier for six years until the end of the Vietnam War.

 
 
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