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A haunting but much needed account of the Vietnam War from the other side
on 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.