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The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

The Mountains Sing is an account of the painful history of 20th century Vietnam told through the eyes of a fictional family from the north of the country.

Dedicating the book to her real family, and the effects war and devastation had on them, author Que Mai gives us a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary North Vietnamese as they struggle to survive the calamities that descend over their country – from the Japanese occupation during World War II, to the harsh and ideological rule of the communists, to theAmerican bombing of the North, and to the shocks and aftershocks of the Vietnam War.

It is a gripping story, at times almost too painful to read, but one in which I was absorbed by Dieu Lan the hero’s bravery, determination and perseverance no matter what was thrown at her. Que Mai’s writing is beautiful, weaving Vietnamese folklore and proverbs into a tale that in the end shows us the resilience of the human spirit. In this day and age when we are facing hard times as a global community as well as a nation, it is comforting to be reminded that throughout history people all over the world have endured difficult times but have ultimately come through with kindness, love and hope.

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