The covers of books for children by late author Nguyên Hồng. The books have been republished by the Kim Đồng Publishing House to celebrate the publisher’s 62nd birthday anniversary. — Photo courtesy of the publisher
By Thu Anh
HCM CITY— Four books for children by late author Nguyên Hồng of Nam Định Province, a leading writer of Việt Nam between the 1930s and 60s, have been reprinted by the Kim Đồng Publishing House.
The publication celebrates the publisher’s 62nd birthday anniversary.
The books include Dưới Chân Cầu Mây (Under the Mây Bridge), Những Ngày Thơ Ấu (Childhood Days), Một Tuổi Thơ Văn (Time for Literature) and Những Truyện Hay Viết Cho Thiếu Nhi-Nguyên Hồng (Short Stories for Children by Nguyên Hồng), which were selected from many books of the writer.
All of the publications feature Vietnamese culture, northern people and their lifestyle. Hải Phòng, home of the writer for many years, is also featured.
The novel Dước Chân Cầu Mây was first published by Kim Đồng in 1951. It tells the stories of Chí, a young member of Việt Minh (League for the Independence of Việt Nam), in the French war. The work is a song in praise of patriotism, bravery and honesty.
Những Ngày Thơ Ấu and Một Tuổi Thơ Văn are the writer’s memoirs about his time in Nam Định and Hải Phòng. Both feature poor children, their dreams and hopes.
Những Truyện Hay Viết Cho Thiếu Nhi-Nguyên Hồng includes the writer’s best short stories for children.
“Nguyên Hồng loves children. He understands what children love and want,” female writer Nguyễn Thị Nhã Nam, the writer’s daughter, wrote.
Hồng was born into a poor family in Nam Định in 1918. He began his writing career in 1936 after his first short story, Linh Hồn (The Soul), was printed in Hà Nội.
One year later, Hồng made his mark with Bỉ Vỏ (Thieves), one of the writer’s most popular works. The novel features the tragic life of Tám Bính, a rural girl living under a semi-feudal colony who is forced to be a gang leader.
It was a publishing phenomenon. Through his writing, Hồng featured the semi-feudal society of Việt Nam during the French period, when two legal systems existed: the French rulers and the local feudalists.
His social-realist writing style was a reaction against romanticism by many writers of this time.
Bỉ Vỏ highlights rural women, their beautiful minds and character. The book has been reprinted and adapted for the theatre and film.
Readers call Nguyên Hồng the “Victor Hugo of Việt Nam” because his writing features his love for poor people, particularly women.
His books feature the culture and lifestyle of the northern region.
“Nguyên Hồng’s books include Vietnamese farmers and labourers. Through his writing, their mind and characters are highlighted,” said Đỗ Kim Thoa, a reader of HCM City.
“His books’ themes are still alive today. They provide readers, particularly young people, knowledge about Việt Nam’s history and culture,” she said.
Hồng wrote more than 60 fiction and non-fiction books, and many short stories. His famous works include Cửa Biển (Seaport), a novel series of four books, and Sóng Gầm (High Waves).
Many of his works have been reprinted several times, attracting millions of readers from different generations.
Hồng took part in the resistance war against the French from 1936 to 1943. He was a member of the Communist Party of Việt Nam, and a founder of the Việt Nam Writers’ Association in 1957.
He passed away in Bắc Giang in 1982. He was honoured with the Hồ Chí Minh Prize in Literature and Arts in 1996, the highest-ranking award of its kind in the country.--VNS