The cover of the novel, Mãi Mãi Một Thời Thiếu Sinh Quân (Forever Memoirs of A Cadet), by veteran writer Ma Văn Kháng. — Photo courtesy of the publisher
HCM CITY — Well-known author Ma Văn Kháng’s latest book on children living in the Việt Bắc Region under the anti-French war, has been released by Kim Đồng Publishing House.
The novel, Mãi Mãi Một Thời Thiếu Sinh Quân (Forever Memoirs of A Cadet), features a group of children from Hà Nội and northern provinces who study at the Việt Bắc Interregional Cadet School on the Việt Bắc Resistance Base in 1949-1951.
The Việt Bắc region covers the provinces of Hà Giang, Tuyên Quang, Cao Bằng, Bắc Kạn, Thái Nguyên and Lạng Sơn.
The region was the seat of the Vietnamese revolutionary government during the anti-French war.
It is now famous for tourist destinations such as Ba Bể Lake in Bắc Kạn, Bản Giốc Waterfall in Cao Bằng and Đồng Văn Karst Plateau in Hà Giang.
In his book, Kháng, a member of the cadet school, features his time at the school, his friends and local people.
Patriotism, bravery, honesty and friendship are highlighted, while ethnic minorities with their diverse cultures and lifestyles are also included.
Mãi Mãi Một Thời Thiếu Sinh Quân praises life, love, dreams and hopes.
“I first wrote the book as a memoir. Later, I changed it to a novel. I hope readers can imagine my stories and characters,” Kháng wrote in the Phụ Nữ (Women) Newspaper of HCM City after his book’s release.
“Human memory is wonderful. Literature is the next wonderful (thing) that can feature people and their internal life, which no machine can do,” he wrote.
Kháng was born in Kim Liên Village in Hà Nội in 1936. He began his writing career in 1961 after his first short story was published in the Văn Học (Literature) newspaper.
He made his mark with the novel Đồng Bạc Trắng Hoa Xòe (Flowery Silver Coin) in 1979, one of the writer’s most popular works.
The novel features the tragic life of ethnic people living under the French colonial regime.
In 1985, Kháng’s fifth novel, Mùa Lá Rụng Trong Vườn (The Season of Falling Leaves), was a publishing phenomenon.
“Kháng’s realistic writing in Mùa Lá Rụng Trong Vườn made him one of the leading writers in the đổi mới (renewal) policy in the 1980s and 1990s,” Hoàng Văn Hương, a reader in Hà Nội.
Another of his featured novels, Ngược Dòng Lũ (Against the Flood), published in 1999, can be purchased from Amazon.
The work features contemporary Vietnamese society and its changes.
Kháng has written 200 short stories and 20 novels. Many have been reprinted and adapted for theatre and film.
Last year, his eight books, including novels Mùa Lá Rụng Trong Vườn and Đồng Bạc Trắng Hoa Xòe, and three short-story collections of 100 works were reprinted by ĐinhtiBooks.
Kháng was given the Hồ Chí Minh Prize in Literature and Arts in 2012, the highest-ranking award of its kind in the country. — VNS