Book Title: The Mountains Sing
Author: Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Ha Noi, 1972. As war breaks out in Viet Nam, twelve-year-old Hương clings to her grandmother in an improvised shelter as American bombs fall around them. For her grandmother, the experience is horribly familiar. This is a woman who knows what it takes to hold a family together as a country crumbles. And now, coming of age in a nation rocked by conflict, Hương must do the same.
With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko and the haunting beauty of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, The Mountains Sing tells the enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, intimate, lyrical and bursting with life.
Dr Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is an award-winning Vietnamese poet and novelist. She is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her books in Vietnamese has received the 2010 Poetry of the Year Award from the Hanoi Writers Association, the Capital’s Literature & Arts Award, and First Prize in the Poetry Competition celebrating 1,000 Years of Hanoi. Her debut novel and first book in English, THE MOUNTAINS SING, is an International Bestseller, runner-up of the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Winner of the 2020 BookBrowse Best Debut Award, Winner of the Blogger’s Book Prize 2021, Winner of the 2021 International Book Awards, Winner of the 2021 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and Winner of the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship for “a work of exceptional quality” and for “contribution to peace and reconciliation”. Quế Mai’s second novel, DUST CHILD, is forthcoming with Algonquin Books. For more information, visit: nguyenphanquemai.com
‘[An] absorbing, stirring novel… Que Mai contains her saga with a poet’s discipline… She evokes the landscape hauntingly, as a site of loss so profound it assumes the quality of fable.’ – New York Times Book Review
‘Expansive in scope and feeling, The Mountains Sing is a feat of hope, an unflinchingly felt inquiry into the past, with the courageous storytelling of the present.’ – Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
‘A compelling and challenging novel that should be read as an attempt to recognise both the presence of the past and its profound effect on the formation of individual and national identity.’ – Irish Times
‘The Mountains Sing is an epic account of Việt Nam’s painful 20th century history, both vast in scope and intimate in its telling. Through the travails of one family, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai brings us close to the horrors of famine, war, and class struggle. But in this moving and riveting novel, she also shows us a post-war Việt Nam, a country of hope and renewal, home to a people who have never given up.’ – Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prizewinning author of The Sympathizer
‘A Vietnamese poet conjures history and fate in a luminous tale that resonates across generations as one family grapples with the psychic residue of war.’ – O, The Oprah Magazine