The Mountains Sing
A New York Times Editors’ Choice Selection A 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 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.
Born into the Việt Nam War in 1973, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai grew up witnessing the war’s devastation and its aftermath. She worked as a street seller and rice farmer before winning a scholarship to attend university in Australia. She is the author of eight books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in Vietnamese, and her writing has been translated and published in more than fifteen countries. She has been honored with some of the top literary awards of Vietnam, including the Poetry of the Year 2010 Award from the Hanoi Writers Association. Her debut novel and first book in English, The Mountains Sing, was awarded a Lannan Literary Awards Fellowship for contribution to peace and reconciliation and the BookBrowse Best Debut Award for 2020. It was named a best book of 2020 by more than ten media establishments, including NPR. Quế Mai has a PhD in creative writing from Lancaster University.
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