Vietnamese Litterature in English 

Books in English about Vietnam
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Vietnamese Litterature

Vietnamese literature at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikivietlit a encyclopedia for Vietnamese literature

Family of Fallen Leaves: Stories of Agent Orange by Vietnamese Writers
Paperback $19.95, 164 pages, October 1, 2010
Collection of twelve short stories and one essay by Vietnamese writers reveals the tragic legacy of Agent Orange and raises troubling moral questions about the physical, spiritual, and environmental consequences of war.
This remarkably diverse collection represents a body of work published after the early 1980s that stirred sympathy and indignation in Vietnam, pressuring the Vietnamese government for support. “Thirteen Harbors” intertwines a womans love for a dioxin victim with ancient Cham legend and Vietnamese folk wisdom. “A Child, a Man” explores how our fates are bound with those of our neighbors. In “The Goat Horn Bell” and “Grace,” families are devastated to find the damage from Agent Orange passed to their newborn children. Eleven of the pieces appear in English for the first time, including an essay by Minh Chuyen, whose journalism helped publicize the Agent Orange victims’ plight.
Description and reviews

Vietnam: a Travelers Literary Companion  John Balaban (Editor) and Qui Duc Nguyen (Editor)
Good way to learn more about the culture of the country. It has an engaging collection of stories by various Vietnamese writers, ranging from folklore and the tragedy of war to love and family ties, all set against evocative backdrops from Hanoi to Dalat. 17 modern stories from Vietnams best writers. The anthology begins with Nguyen Huy Thieps disarmingly simple but riveting tale "Salt of the Jungle,". The book is organized under the sections Hanoi, Rivers, Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, and Villages, ending with a Remembrances series, including Nguyen Ba Tracs "The White Horse". From Doan Quoc Sys elaboration on a century-old folk poem "The Stranded Fish," , to a complex story "Fired Gold" by Nguyen Huy Thiep. These literary stories evoke the land, culture, people, concerns, and soul of Vietnam.  £12.50 - Paperback - 256 pages (1996)

Love After War: Contemporary Fiction From Vietnam (Voices from Vietnam)  Wayne Karlin (Editor), Ho Anh Thai (Editor)    Love After War presents the widest range to date of contemporary writers in Vietnam, men and women who have become part of that countrys established canon, as well as young and up-coming writers who have come of age in modern Vietnam. Their stories, published in the most widely read literary journals, magazines and newspapers in Vietnam, and many translated here for the first time, reveal the relationships and concerns of everyday life, and the erosion and endurance of life in that country. Contributors to the anthology include Vu Boa, Nguyen Minh Chau, Ngo Thi Kim Cuc, Nguyen Phan Hach, Ma Van Khang, Nguyen Khai, Le Minh Khue, Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc, Bao Ninh, Doan Le, Ho Anh Thai, Nguyen Huy Thiep, Nguyen Manh Tuan and others.
£9.39 - Paperback 641 pages (November 1, 2003) - et særdeles godt køb!

Crossing the River: Short Fiction Nguyen Huy Thiep
Presents a wide range of Nguyen Huy Thiep’s short fiction, both realistic stories in contemporary settings and retellings of folk myths that serve as contemporary parables. When Thiep’s stories first appeared in the 1980s, they set off a chain of debate, not only within intellectual and political circles, but also within the society at large. Typically, the struggles of his characters were about survival, not survival in the context of war or revolution, but survival in the context of the emotional and psychological strength it takes to live within the harsh confines of post-war Vietnamese society. Thiep captured the emotional quality of Vietnamese life in a way no other author had done, and his importance can be recognized today by his enormous influence on younger writers.  £8.33 - Paperback 352 pages (January, 2004) - biografi på tysk
The Women on the Island  Ho Anh Thai (Biografi)
Deep in the forested island of Cat Bac, a jungle seethes with the irrepressible force of its own history. Haunted by agonies of temptation and frustration, "the women on the island" are prisoners of the power of the place, the power of the past, the power of desire and constraint. The novel illuminates the plight of a generation of men and women in post-war Vietnam, and issues of family and gender and charts Vietnams effort to redefine its relationship. Popular writer Ho Anh Thai brings into view the struggle of women who survived their service during the war years. Like male veterans they returned to a society which they had defended, but which in many ways had no place for them.
£13.50 - Paperback - 176 pages (2001) 
Behind the Red Mist: Short Fiction (Voices from Vietnam) : Fiction by Ho Anh (Biografi) - Translated by Wayne Karlin and Nguyen Qui Duc--This book gives us a vide range of stories from the most important writer of the post-war generation in Vietnam. Imagining and lively and often startling, these stories offer readers insight into contemporary Vietnamese literature, culture and society that are both valuable and pleasurable. Ho Anh Thai brings an intimate knowledge of the Vietnam War into perspective with a style that is at once whimsical and sharp-sighted. We meet characters such as the man who carries his mothers bones in his knapsack, and in "Behind the Red Mist," a young man is magically transported into his own past during the war bombings. - £9.45 - Paperback- 230 pages (1998)
"The General Retires" and Other Stories  Nguyen Huy Thiep, Grey Lockhart (Illustrator)
When it first appeared in 1987, the title story of this collection of stories by Nguyen Huy Thiep caused a sensation in Vietnam. Not since the Communist revolution had readers found as stark and compelling a view of their world as The General Retires offered them. Written in spare, succinct prose, it captures the despair of an old general who, after many years of devoted service to his country, is alienated by the emptiness of the society into which he retires and ultimately flees. With eight powerfully written stories, all available in English for the first time, and including an introduction by Greg Lockhart that traces the varied traditions of Vietnamese literature to the present day, this collection offers unprecedented insight into a society trying to overcome and understand years of pain and civil strife. Only used - Paperback - 202 pages (1993).
Against the Flood (Voices from Vietnam, No 3)  Van Khang Ma - Translated by Phan Thanh Hao and Wayne Karlin  -  Khiem is a writer and editor-in-chief of a publishing house in contemporary Vietnam when he is attacked by conformist writers. The result is the banning of his book. His lover, Hoan, is slandered and sacked from her job, necessitating her leaving Hanoi and becoming caught up in opium trafficking resulting in her arrest. Khiems wife is a smuggler, has an extra-marital affair and dies during an abortion. After a long period of suffering, Khiem and Hoan are finally reunited. This is a deeply engaging, superbly written, highly recommended novel of friendship, love and betrayal played out against a background of culture and politics in a state of rapid transition and change.
£7.51 - Paperback - 360 pages (November 2000)
Beyond Illusions  Duong Thu Huong  Translation Nina McPherson and Phan Huy Duong.
The writer is a political dissident whose work is now banned in her native country; her work continues to trickle out in the United States. "Beyond Illusions," which was written in the mid-1980s, is Huongs first novel, and it appears here in English for the first time. Its a book that presents a deft portrait of life in Communist Hanoi, where unforgiving public opinion casts a lengthy shadow upon peoples private choices. We hear the story of a young woman, Linh, who falls out of love with her husband, a journalist named Nguyen, when she learns that he has "compromised himself to carve out a secure place in society, to reap all the material benefits." Linh leaves her life of relative luxury and begins an affair with a much older composer who has fallen from party favor, but whose idealism proves ultimately false. £14.36 Hardcover - 247 pages (January 2002), usually dispatched within 7 to 8 days.

Annam  Christophe Bataille, Translated by Richard Howard
The very short book (fewer than 100 pages) tells the tale of French missionaries who sail to Vietnam escorted by the military. Told in an austere, reductive style, the novel is a moral fable. The soldiers had not sought to understand Vietnam," say the narrator of Annam. "This was not forgiven them." This simple statement could serve as the epigram for the experience of France and USA, although Christophe Bataille describes the agonizing end of a band of soldiers that arrived in the country in 1788. Annam was a 1993 prizewinner in France, when Bataille was just 21 years old.
£9.87  Hardcover (September 1996)

The Sacred Willow : Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family  Duong Van Mai Elliot (1999).
Reviewed in VietNam ajour nr. 3/2000: "The book is warmly recommended to all interested in Vietnam". - The Sacred Willow is a beautifully detailed view of the Vietnamese twentieth century - not from the perspective of Americans, but from the perspective of one Vietnamese family, including mandarins and leaders of the society - as well as members of the Viet Minh. The reader who wants to "understand Vietnam" will not find a better book, or a more readable and absorbing one.-£11.11 - Paperback - 544 pages

The Sorrow of War  Bao Ninh (1991)
This is the semi-autobiographical account of a soldiers experiences. The hero of the story, Kien, is a captain. After 10 years of war and months as a MIA body-collector, Kien suffers a nervous breakdown in Hanoi as he tries to re-establish a relationship with his former sweetheart. This is a great piece of work. It is gentle at times while horrific at others. It provides an alternative perspective with integrity and insight in the telling of the other sides story from a point of "Being Human" as opposed to "Being Political". £5.59 - Paperback (1994) - 272 pages
Oversat til Dansk - biografi

Memories of a Pure Spring  Duong Thu Huong Translation Nina McPherson and Phan Huy Duong.
One of the bestselling Vietnamese novels of all time. A searing love story set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Memories Of A Pure Spring was a huge bestseller when it was published in Vietnam in 1976 (it was subsequently, and still is, banned there). It is Huongs most commercial and engaging novel which deals with the aftermath of the war and how the ordinary Vietnamese people caught up in the conflict can readapt to their everyday lives and loves.
£5.59 Paperback (Reprint 2001) - 340 pages
Paradise of the Blind  Duong Thu Huong. Translated by Nina McPherson and Phan Huy Duong.
If anyone wants to truly understand Vietnams history and what life under communism is like, they should read this book. Duong Thu Huong reveals a reality I had not known about until I read Paradise of the Blind. This book captures the idealistic hope and devastating betrayal and disillusionment of those who gave their lives and hopes to communism, only to discover it is a lie. I will never be able to look at Vietnam and the war the same way again. The fact that this book is banned in Vietnam only reveals its power.
£8.01 - Paperback (Reprint 1994) Penguin Books
Novel Without a Name  Duong Thu Huong
This book is narrated by Quan, a twenty-eight year-old soldier of the North Vietnamese Army who, after spending ten years in the jungles of central Vietnam, is thoroughly disillusioned by the horrible and absurd realities of war. The narrators tone is one of disenchantment, of wistful longing for all that has been lost - youth, life, love, family.
£8.01 - Paperback (Reprint 1996) Penguin Books
The Stars, the Earth, the River : Short Fiction (Voices From Vietnam No 1)  Bac Hoai Tran
Translated by Wayne Karlin and Dana Sachs. --This collection of 14 stories, each a harrowing sketch of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, offers readers a glimpse offamiliar territory, but from an unfamiliar perspective. Often writing from a young womans point of view, Le Minh Khue, a war veteran who served in the Youth Volunteers Brigade, uses simple, understated prose to describe numbing horrors. Contains an excellent introduction by the translators, grounding the stories in Le Minh Khues personal history. You simultaneously feel the rage of the author and the narrator when Khue disparagingly notes that the conversations around her center on luxuries, motor scooters, and business deals. 
£8.01 - Paperback - 256 pages (1997)
The Tale of Kieu / a Bilingual Edition of Truyen Kieu  Nguyen Du, Huynh Sanh Thong (Translator)
Nguyen Dus Tale of Kieu occupies the role of Shakespeare in Vietnamese literature: children study it in school, adults allude to it in daily conversation. This epic poem dates from the seventeenth century and is a cornerstone of Vietnamese literature. Radical in its subversion of traditional Confucian mores (the protagonist is a woman), Truyen Kieu defines the boundaries of modern Vietnamese culture. It is necessary reading for anyone who would hope to understand the bittersweet sentiment that undergirds the Vietnamese worldview.
£12.95 - Paperback Reprint edition (1987)
Spring Essence  Ho Xuan Huong - John Balaban (Editor and Translator)
Ho Xuan Huongs poetry has a saucy voice, vital imagery, and nimble, teasing, sexy, and wise protestations and philosophical observations manifest in poems that transcend time, geography, and culture with startling directness, relevance, and verve. She was a eighteenth-century woman poet that lived in an era of political turmoil, when few women were educated in the cultures rigorous literary tradition. Poet John Balaban has translated from ancient calligraphic system called Nôm, and each poem are displayed in Nôm, alongside English and Vietnamese versions.  £9.28 - Paperback - 120 pages (October 2000)

Foreign fiction on Vietnam

The Quiet American  Graham Greene (1955)
Greenes best work and the best book ever on Vietnams twentieth century wars (French and American). Works beautifully as fiction and also as a tour of the area and the era. Into the intrigue and violence of Indo-China comes Pyle, a young idealistic American sent to promote democracy through a mysterious "Third Force". As his naive optimism starts to cause bloodshed, his friend Fowler, a cynical foreign correspondent, finds it hard to stand aside and watch. 
Filmed as movie with Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser, on location in Vietnam, out on DVD
£5.59 - Paperback (Reissue 2002) - 192 pages - Filmanmeldelse: En stilfærdig terrorist (The Quiet American)

Saigon  Anthony Gray (1982)
Beautifully written piece of fiction that is more factual than many history books. The book follows an American, from his first visit to the country in 1926 at the height of French Indo-China and concludes on the roof of the American Embassy in April 1975, fifty years later. A great tale is spun by of the principal character witnessing every key event politically, socially and militarily, as Vietnam slowly and painfully eases its way to independence. This book not only provides an interesting look at Vietnams history, and up an immense emotional attachment to the characters and country. If you are interested in the historic turbulence of Vietnams history and its ruinous results to the people then read this book.
£5.59 - Paperback (Reissue 1997) - 752 pages 


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