The Mountains Sing
by Que Mai Phan Nguyen
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Pub Date 17 Mar 2020 | Archive Date 11 May 2022
A New York Times Editors’ Choice SelectionA Winner of the 2020 Lannan Literary Awards Fellowship
A Best Book of 2020: NPR's Book Concierge * PopMatters * Washington Independent Review of Books * Real Simple * The Buzz Magazine * NB Magazine * BookBrowse * Paperback Paris * Writer's Bone * Global Atlanta
"[An] absorbing, stirring novel . . . that, in more than one sense, remedies history." —The New York Times Book Review
“A triumph, a novelistic rendition of one of the most difficult times in Vietnamese history . . . Vast in scope and intimate in its telling . . . Moving and riveting.” —VIET THANH NGUYEN, author of The Sympathizer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
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 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.
The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 103 members
Admittedly, I've never known that much about Vietnam. Neither the country nor the war that took place there. This story taught me so much and gave a new perspective that isn't commonly found in the United States. I felt so deeply for this family and for the way they fought for the promise of a future by searching their past. The writing is incredibly descriptive without bogging the story down in details. It was masterfully done.
I am recommending this to everyone.
The Mountains Sing is a beautifully epic tale woven with great emotion and intimacy from Que Mai Pjan Nguyen. I learned so much about Vietnam and how fiercely the Vietnamese people fought for their livelihood generation after generation from the French Occupation, to the Great Hunger, Government Injustices, and the Vietnam War. This novel could have been a dark, dark read. However, Que Mai weaves this story through the members of a family over several generations and how they were personally affected by each injustice of the times.
This is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching book that everyone should read this year.