The Sorrow of War

The Sorrow of War


By (author) Bao Ninh

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 127mm x 193mm x 10mm | 159g
  • Publication date: 27 August 1997
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 074939711X
  • ISBN 13: 9780749397111
  • Sales rank: 37,364

Product description

Kien's job is to search the Jungle of Screaming Souls for corpses. He knows the area well - this was where, in the dry season of 1969, his battalion was obliterated by American napalm and helicopter gunfire. Kien was one of only ten survivors. This book is his attempt to understand the eleven years of his life he gave to a senseless war. Based on true experiences of Bao Ninh and banned by the communist party, this novel is revered as the 'All Quiet on the Western Front for our era'.

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Author information

Bao Ninh was born in Hanoi in 1952. During the Vietnam war he served with the Glorious 27th Youth Brigade. Of the five hundred who went to war with the brigade in 1969, he is one of ten who survived. A huge bestseller in Vietnam, The Sorrow of War is his first novel.

Review quote

"20 years on, [it] had an even greater impact on me than it did first time around... It is a remarkable and important novel" -- Jamie Byng Herald "The Sorrow of War vaults over all the American fiction that came out of the Vietnam war to take its place alongside the greatest war novel of the century, All Quiet on the Western Front. And this is to understate its qualities for, unlike All Quiet, it is a novel abut much more than war. A book about writing, about lost youth, it is also a beautiful agonising love story... a magnificent achievement" -- Independent "This hauntingly beautiful novel, written by a North Vietnamese Army veteran, manages to humanise completely a people who up until now have usually been cast as robotic fanatics" -- Sunday Times "Unputdownable... This book should be required reading for anyone in American politics or policy-making. It should win the Pulitzer Prize, but it won't. It's too gripping for that" -- Guardian

Editorial reviews

Bao Ninh was one of only ten survivors from the 500-strong Glorious 27th Youth Brigade during the Vietnam War. His harrowing book is remarkable: firstly because his North Vietnamese viewpoint is a rare antidote to the gung-ho American version, and secondly it is so much more than just a war book, being both a tragic love story and a meditation on lost youth and innocence. It is extremely gruesome in place, there is some very black humour, and it has a complex but skilfully executed structure which, we can only assume, has helped him gain the distance he needed to write about such experiences. (Kirkus UK)