It’s easy for readers to become obsessed with Ninh’s acclaimed novel “The sorrow of war” which provides a window into the pain and devastation of a soldier’s life. It tells of the memories of Kien, a veteran of the anti-US war in Vietnam who is on a postwar mission to collect the bodies of his fallen comrades for reburial. The novel vividly depicts his great sympathy for his comrades who died for national liberation and those who parted from their loved ones as well as his thoughts on the psychology of young people who were born during the war. After all, the painful reality of war is integral to the fabric of his memory.
| "The sorrow of war" hits bookshelves in China (Photo: Bich Thuan/VOV)
“The sorrow of war” won the Vietnam Writers’ Association Award in 1991, the 2016 Shim Hun Literary Award in South Korea, the 2011 Asia Literature Award from Nihon Keizai Shimbun in Japan, as well as the 2018 Asia Literature Award. It was also honored in the UK and Denmark. It has been translated into 20 languages and published in 20 countries. The Chinese version of “The sorrow of war’ by translator Xia Lu has recently hit China’s bookshelves. Mr. Ninh said: “I was excited when I heard that Xia Lu had translated ‘The sorrow of war’ into Chinese and that it would be published in China. The novel had been already translated into many other languages but not in Chinese. I’m also very proud that now a Vietnamese literary work has been translated into Chinese and will be introduced in China after several years of interruption.”
Before its official debut in China, several excerpts of “The sorrow of war” were printed in Chinese magazines and received positive feedback from local poets and writers. Yan Lianke, one of the most prominent names in contemporary Chinese literature highly praised this novel.
|VOV reporter Bich Thuan talks with a representative of CS-Booky - the publisher of "The sorrow of war" in China (Photo: Bich Thuan/VOV)
Sharing Yan’s idea, Wang Yuanzhe, representative of CS-Booky – the publisher of “The sorrow of war”, said: “This novel is very inspiring and touching to me. It precipitated so many memories that I couldn’t put it down. I have never felt stronger emotions from any other war novel before. The stories which haven’t been told before have touched the hearts of all readers. I also love this novel for its aesthetic value. In my opinion, while the novel is not the best of the world literature, it’s one of the best war novels.”
|Translator Xia Lu (Photo: Bich Thuan/VOV)
Translator Xia Lu said the novel captured her from its very first pages. She cries every time she reads it. With her 20 years of experience as a lecturer and researcher of Vietnamese literature at Beijing University, Xia honors “The sorrow of war” for its storytelling and aesthetic value, which has reached beyond the traditional standards of a Vietnamese novel.
Xia is called “the midwife” of Vietnamese literature in China. With a deep passion for Vietnamese language and literature, she has translated and studied numerous Vietnamese literary works written from ancient times to the contemporary era. Xia told VOV: “The Vietnamese language and its literature have opened many doors for me and helped me to enrich my knowledge about Vietnam, the Chinese language and literature, the China-Vietnam relationship, and China’s relations with the world. I have made friends with many Vietnamese people and scholars of Vietnamese studies. I often say that I’m thankful to Vietnam, the Vietnamese language, and its literature. Nothing can stop me from loving Vietnamese literature.”
The Chinese version of “The sorrow of war” made by Xiu already gained an excellent reputation thanks to her profound understanding of Vietnamese literature and her love for the novel.