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The Mountains Sing

por Nguyen Phan Que Mai

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
6775033,476 (4.07)84
Fiction. Literature. HTML:The International Bestseller
New York Times Editors Choice Selection
Winner of the 2020 Lannan Literary Awards Fellowship
"[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 Lees Pachinko or Yaa Gyasis Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratners In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Tr?n family, set against the backdrop of the Vi?t Nam War. Tr?n Di?u 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 H N?i, her young granddaughter, H??ng, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the H? Ch 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 Vi?t 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 Nguy?n Phan Qu? Mais first novel in English.
… (mais)
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1920 wird in Französisch-Indochina Dieu Lan als Tochter der reichen Grundbesitzerfamilie Nguyen geboren, 40 Jahre später in Hanoi deren Enkelin Huong. Diese beiden erzählen als Ich-Erzähler ihre Lebensgeschichte, welche zugleich die Geschichte Vietnams ist, zumal die Schicksalschläge der Famile Nguyen mit den großen Wendepunkten der vietnamesischen Geschichte verbunden sind.

Französische Kolonialzeit, japanische Besetzung, Indochina-Krieg und Unabhängigkeit, Kommunistische Landreform, Vietnamkrieg, Nachkriegsrepression und soziale Marktwirtschaft: Nguyen hat keine Epoche ausgelassen, ihr bewegendes Familienepos verknüpft die Wendungen im Leben der Hauptprotagonisten gekonnt mit den historischen Ereignissen. Im Mittelpunkt steht die Leidensfähigkeit und Strebsamkeit der rechtschaffenen, sich aufopfernden Großmutter in ihrem Bestreben, der Kinder- und Enkelgeneration ein besseres Leben zu ermöglichen. Das vorliegende Werk ist ein fesselnder Page-Turner und zugleich Geschichtsbuch ersten Ranges, welches sich mit viel künstlerischer Freiheit und fiktiven Erzählsträngen an den realen Begebenheiten ihrer eigenen Familiengeschichte orientiert. Die drastischen Schilderungen lassen den Leser eintauchen in die schmerzvolle Historie Vietnams und geben Einblicke in die vietnamesische Gesellschaft im Laufe des 20. Jahrhunderts. ( )
  schmechi | Feb 6, 2024 |
This gorgeous, and sometimes brutal, multi-generational Trần family saga spans more than half a century of Vietnamese history, beginning in the French colonial period in the late 1930s through to the present day, narrated by Hương, who was born in 1960, and her grandmother, the family’s matriarch, Diệu Lan, born in 1920. It’s a harrowing tale of murder, occupation, and economic changes, met by the family’s resilience, intelligence, self-reliance, kindness, and fierce independence. The title, Mountains Sing, was taken for the Vietnamese word for a hand-carved bird made by Hương’s father, lost to the war. The horrors Diệu Lan endured or witnessed – like the beheading of her father, separation from her children, the loss of the family fortune repeatedly, through private, government, and military action, and not hearing about the fate of her sons for years – was enough to defeat an ordinary person, but despite all of the loss and violence depicted in the novel, the story is told with grace and compassion, even for those whose actions harmed them most. The story captures the anguish of ordinary farmers who became pawns and victims of the power struggles that had nothing to do with them, and their point of view during the brutal Japanese occupation during World War II, as well as the war we refer to as the Vietnam, and the fallout from the carpet bombing and spraying of Agent Orange. I was so interested to read this perspective from ordinary (i.e., not Communist officials) citizens about the American involvement in Vietnam.

This story will stay with me for a long time, not just for its complex subject matter but also because of its lyrical writing. Through the voice of Hương, the author makes this observation: "I had resented America, too. But by reading their books, I saw the other side of them—their humanity. Somehow I was sure that if people were willing to read each other, and see the light of other cultures, there would be no war on earth." And this is exactly why the book bans going on in American are so antithetical to moral living: one can only brutalize a people if they are not exposed to their humanity, and this is exactly why dictators and fascist regimes destroy books and culture. ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
A family saga of the generations that lived through the tumultuous 20th century in Vietnam, The Mountains Sing tells a story that would be true for many families in Vietnam. Moving backwards and forwards in time, the fractured chronology ranges from French colonialism at the turn of the century, through the rise of the Communist government in the north, to the advent of the civil war that we call the Vietnam War and they call the American War, and finally the reunification of the country under Communism after the US defeat in 1975.

The Tran family were landholders in the north when the Communists took power and engineered 'Land Reform' in a program whose excesses are reminiscent of those in China under Mao. Resentful villagers turned on landholders with violence in order to meet quotas set by the government and Dieu Lan, born in 1920, has to flee with her six children and nothing but the clothes on her back.

These six children are the generation that fought in the Indochina War against the French who refused to give up their colonial possession in the postwar era, and then in the civil war, north against south. (With the US interfering in both conflicts as part of the Cold War strategy.) But the story is not told from any military perspective... it is a story of women who use courage and ingenuity to survive.

In the second half of the 20th century Dieu Lan's granddaughter Huong comes of age as the war is ending and the quest to find missing family members comes to its often shattering conclusion.

It is rare to come across novels written by authors who actually live in Vietnam, and the authenticity of The Mountains Sing is apparent in Que Mai's use of the language and traditions of Vietnam. But unlike another recent novel that I abandoned because I could not make sense of the frequent use of a language I didn't know, Que Mai's skilful bilingualism makes it easy to understand. This is an example selected at random...


'So skillful!' A child's voice flowed toward me, together with the rhythmic tick-tick sound of a featherball being kicked. Ngoc, Minh, and Dat were counting, together: 'Một trăm bảy mươi mốt' One-hundred and seventy-one times! Could someone kick the ball so many times without dropping it? I stood up, bowed to the altar, and went out to the front yard. I saw the children standing in a circle.

Dressed in shorts, Minh was bare-chested, sweat glistening on his skin. He was balancing on one leg, his other leg kicking a featherball. My brother Cong had found the best feathers and pinned them to a rubber base, to make the ball. (p.94)


To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2024/01/23/the-mountains-sing-2020-by-nguyen-phan-que-m... ( )
  anzlitlovers | Jan 22, 2024 |
This is a story of the Tran family set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War. Tran Dieu Alan was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist govern,ent rose in the North. Years later in Hanoi, her young granddaughter Huong, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to fight n a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.
The Vietnam War is told from the side of the Vietnamese and take human costs of the war. ( )
  creighley | Apr 21, 2023 |
It was just one horrible thing after another. I don't care for this kind of book. Also very chick-lit - mother-relationship focused. ( )
  Tytania | Jan 27, 2023 |
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For my grandmother, who perished in the Great Hunger; for my grandfather, who died because of the Land Reform; and for my uncle, whose youth the Việt Nam War consumed. For the millions of people, Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese, who lost their lives in the war. May our planet never see another armed conflict.
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My grandmother used to tell me that when our ancestors die, they don't just disappear, they continue to watch over us.
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:The International Bestseller
New York Times Editors Choice Selection
Winner of the 2020 Lannan Literary Awards Fellowship
"[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 Lees Pachinko or Yaa Gyasis Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratners In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Tr?n family, set against the backdrop of the Vi?t Nam War. Tr?n Di?u 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 H N?i, her young granddaughter, H??ng, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the H? Ch 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 Vi?t 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 Nguy?n Phan Qu? Mais first novel in English.

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