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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 August 2016
'Sorrows of War' is one of the very rare accounts of the Vietnam War, as experienced from the other side. It follows Kien, a former soldier tasked with recovering bodies in the Jungle of Screaming Souls on his journey of piecing his war and its consequences together.

There are moments of comradeship, love, absolute beauty but equally many of needles slaughtered and brutality of both sides. Some would call this one of the Great War novels depicting the 20th century and it has a unique way of not only covering the war but also life before and after. One sees how the ones not at the front have changed at the same time as those enduring battle and it is certainly a testament to the writer's ability to produce such a comprehensive account in the space of under 250 pages.

The book is truly haunting and should be read by all who think that war has become a clinical affair, emotionally detached and largely inconsequential. It may be difficult to do from cover to cover in one go due to its emotional charge but it will stay with you for a little by time after reading and is in my opinion one of the literary masterpieces from Asia.
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on 16 March 2016
It took me a while to get into this novel and I was initially frustrated, but then it was like a door opening in my mind and heart. Its structure reflects the way the horror and memory of War replays in the mind of the soldier. I learned so much about the Vietnam War - it brought me very close the people and the country. I highly recommend this classic novel.
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on 25 February 2018
The author writes in a very unnatural style, an awkward mix which constantly left me feeling that I was neither reading a novel nor a memoir. This book reminded me of a similar flawed attempt to novelise a life - Don Segundo Sombra by Ricardo Gūiraldes. Strangely the latter also garnered lots of popular acclaim in the years immediately after its release only to be cast down by the passing of time and more sober reviews.
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on 28 January 2018
Well written account of a dreadful period of atrocities taking place during 20th Century, from the point of view of a young man who enlists in the North Vietnamese Army, to fight for his country giving up love, an education, facing great loss, disappointment and pain when the war is over. A tale about the destructiveness of war.
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on 21 March 2018
I read this after a series of documentaries about the Vietnam War from the perspective of the North, shown on the BBC recently.
This book was a very powerful story of one man's struggle to live with the memories of war. Ninh was sparing with the horrors, although terrible experiences are described. Rather, the reader walks along side the central character as he 'writes' himself back to a live-able life.
Powerful, hard-hitting, I won't forget it.
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VINE VOICEon 16 November 2003
Deeply moving account of war beginning as one of the few survivors of a Vietnamese unit looks for the bodies of dead comrades in the Jungle of Lost Souls - haunted by those who have died. And yet there are other ghosts - those who have lived but are carrying mental and emotional anguish, numbness and hopelessness.
Surely one of the greatest war novels to come out of a century of war, and should be essential reading for political leaders who think construction is as easy as destruction. A book that moves you to tears but somehow makes you more alive, and a tribute in a way to the resilience of the Vietnamese people in the face of barely imaginable horror.
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on 12 April 2015
Anyone wanting to know anything about Vietnam must read this book. It will change the way you see the country for ever, in a heartbreaking yet wonderful way. It has some structural issues common for a first novel and can be a little dense, especially in the first half, but I urge you to read on. I've met the author at my school funnily enough and this is very much a true story.
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on 20 April 2018
Stunningly truthful and beautifully written story of the realities of war and love, in this case during the Vietnam war.
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on 1 April 2015
This book flows like a stream of sorrow through the patchwork of life ebbing and flowing from an arbitrary time when there is peace, family, friendship, humanity and love to another arbitrary moment when there is war, humiliation, violence, terror and inhumanity.
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on 27 January 2015
interesting view of a war from the other side - vietcong - also deals a bit with pstd
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