Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Twenty books by late cultural researcher and author Sơn Nam of Kiên Giang Province, a leading writer of the Cửu Long (Mekong) River Delta region, have been reprinted by the Trẻ Publishing House.
The publication celebrates the writer’s 10th death anniversary.
The books include collections of short stories, novels and research works selected from many works of the writer. All of the publications feature Mekong Delta cultures, southern people and their lifestyles.
Books on Gia Định-Sài Gòn developments over 300 years are also included.
Highlighted research books are Đình Miễu & Lễ Hội Dân Gian Miền Nam (Temples & Folk Festivals of the South) and Đồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long - Nét Sinh Hoạt Xưa - Văn Minh Miệt Vườn (Cửu Long River Delta - Traditional Lifestyle - Orchard Civilisation).
Readers call Sơn Nam “a living dictionary on the southern land” because his writing features his love for and knowledge of the southern region.
Many of his works recall the process by which people in the past claimed new land.
Some works were adapted to films.
He wrote 60 fiction and non-fiction books, and more than 400 short stories.
Nam was born into a poor farmer family in U Minh Hạ in Rạch Giá Province (now Kiên Giang) in 1926.
He studied in Cần Thơ and took part in the resistance war against the French in 1945.
After the Geneva Agreement in 1954, he moved to Sài Gòn (now HCM City) to write books and articles for local newspapers.
Nam wrote more than 60 fiction and non-fiction books, 400 short stories and many research works. His books have been reprinted several times, attracting millions of readers from different generations.
One of his most famous novels, Hương Rừng Cà Mau (Scent of Forest in Cà Mau), was translated and taught at Paris University Diderot.
Another book, Mùa Len Trâu (Flood Season), was made into a film, titled Buffalo Boy, by Vietnamese-American director Nguyễn Võ Nghiêm Minh in 2003.
Minh’s film portrays the lives of local farmers in Đồng Tháp Province. It also features the delta region’s beauty with picturesque scenes of rivers, forests, boats and buffaloes, and haunting folk songs. Daily life affected by floodwaters is also highlighted.
Impressed by Nam’s Mùa Len Trâu the first time he read it, Minh asked the author for permission to film the book.
Minh, a graduate in cinematography at the University of California, received financial support from two European production companies, France’s 3B Productions and Belgium’s NOVAK.
The film Buffalo Boy was screened in Australia, the Europe and the US, and sent to international festivals and won several awards.
Nam passed away in HCM City in 2008. — VNS