We partner with hoopla Digital to bring you a special Asian Pacific Islander American Heritage Month/Shelter in Place edition of our On the Same Page city-wide read.
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 not just her beloved country, but her family apart.
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.
Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, is a Vietnamese poet and author of eight books, this is her first novel in English. Quế Mai is one of a relative few authors now bringing Vietnamese literature to a wider English-speaking audience, and to me her story felt like opening a door in a way I’ve rarely experienced before in a book.
Born into the Vietnam 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, and her writing has been translated and published in more than ten countries, most recently in Norton’s Inheriting the War anthology. For more information about Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, visit her at www.nguyenphanquemai.com.
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