A novel by Bao Ninh, depicting the experience of a Vietnamese soldier fighting against the Americans during the Vietnam War. Ninh served in the 27th Glorious Youth Brigade in 1969. The book begins after the war ends, in a ruined country, and tells the story of this soldier, Kien, and how he lived through this terrible war. He spent all of his young adulthood fighting it, and the rest of his veteran years reliving it.
This book is powerful, beautiful, and intensely sad. It was a huge bestseller in Vietnam. There is an English version, translated by Frank Palmos and published by Vintage in 1998. It won the Independent Foreign Fiction Award.
“As we had won, Kien thought, then that meant justice had won; that had been some consolation. Or had it? Think carefully; look at your own existence. Look carefully now at the peace we have, painful, bitter and sad. And look at who won the war...
...Justice may have won, but cruelty, death and inhuman violence had also won."
-Bao Ninh The Sorrow of War