HA NOI — Viet Nam's acclaimed novel The Sorrow of War has been published in Farsi, the most widely spoken Persian language.
The novel tells the story of Kien, a soldier who left the war haunted by memories of loss, pain and horror, still obsessed with the image of his first love Phuong.
Set apart from similar works, Bao Ninh used a non-heroic, non-ideological tone to depict the war through the eyes of an individual.
In a conversation with writer Ho Anh Thai, who attended the book launch in Iran last month, translator Masoud Amirkhani said his experiences of conflict fuelled his interest in war literature.
After having read The Sorrow of War in English, Amirkhani immediately went about translating it into his own language, in co-operation with Ofog, one of Iran's most prestigious literary houses.
Also attending the launch, Iranian writer Belgheys Soleimani said that reading the novel gave her the chance to experience the war from an insider's point of view.
Critic Shahryar Vaghfipour labeled the book a work on extermination and love, a lost past and a haunted present.
The novel was awarded by the Viet Nam Writers' Association after its release in 1987 entitled Than Phan Tinh Yeu (The Destiny of Love).
When translated into English in 1994 under the title The Sorrow of War the novel immediately became an international bestseller, the New Yorker calling it a "very good novel" while the Economist rated it "All the more remarkable for being an honest account of the conflict in Viet Nam from the winning side".
Writer Bao Ninh, real name Hoang Au Phuong, was born in the central province of Nghe An in 1952 and served as a soldier between 1969-75. After the war, he went on to work at the Viet Nam Science Academy and Van Nghe Tre (Young Literature) newspaper. — VNS