Book Title: The Mountains Sing

Author: Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Publisher:  Oneworld Publications


Category: Historical, Coming-of-Age Fiction.

Pages: 342 pages


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 BanyanThe Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu 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 Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore apart not just her beloved country, but also her family.
Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt 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.

Book Review [spoilers free]

The Mountains Sing is an epic multigenerational tale; telling the story of the journey into the twentieth century of Vietnamese history. Through the lives of the Tran family, told via the POV of a grandmother and granddaughter.

First of all;I’m proud with the way ownvoices female authors of our generation are telling history with their masterpiece writing.

The Mountains Sing is book after reading, words gets to fail you on how to write a good review; to justify and tell the world how beautiful and exceptionally great the book is.

My first time reading Quế Mai’s work, and I must say; I have never read something as beautiful as this in my life. Thanks to this book, it’s a new beginning for me in explorating, the Asian literature genre.

The writing style used by the author, was poetic.

And the reading experience worth every bit of it, even though I felt heartbroken while doing so.

This is a novel with different complex characters about; family, culture, survival, humanity, love, loyalty, perseverance, Vietnam War leading to the cause of famine, violence, brutality and death.

My favourite characters were Diệu Lan and Hương.
Mr Tran way of dealing with societal norms, made love and adored.

(Reasons for my words can be seen clearly, if you read this book).

The Mountains Sing is a book I highly recommend a 100 times. Thank to Que Mai Phan Nguyen for telling this story.

About Author

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai was born in Việt Nam in 1973, and grew up witnessing the war’s devastation of her country. She worked as a street seller and rice farmer before winning a scholarship to attend university in Australia. She is the author of eight books of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction in Vietnamese. Her writing has been translated and published in more than ten countries and has received many honors, including the Hà Nội Writers Association’s Poetry of the Year 2010 Award. She currently divides her time between Indonesia and Việt Nam.

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