My favorite thing about books is escapism, being able to visit far away places. In my past life, I was a linguist and anaylst in the Military Intelligence Corps (NO JOKES!!) in the US Army. The Army taught me two languages… Polish and Vietnamese.
Vietnam is a beautiful country, the culture just as beautiful. It’s a country of contrasts. There is a strong sense of history and tradition that sits in juxtaposition with an ever-growing attitude of moving forward in a geopolitical way. Easily two-thirds of the population lives in the countryside, while Hà Nội (Hanoi) and Hồ Chí Minh City (once Saigon) are fully urbanized. There are still signs of war, even though it’s been over for decades, beside idyllic fields and Buddhist temples.
There are some amazing books set in Vietnam that really bring the country to life, even to those who’ve never visited it. So I thought I’d curate a list of some of the books I’ve loved, or that I want to read so much!
The Mountains Sing is set during the Vietnam War. It brings the people of the country to life, telling the story of life during the war from a Vietnamese perspective. There are moments that are heartbreaking, but there are just as many beautiful moments, too.
The Lotus Eaters is the story of an American female photographer, taking place as Saigon is falling. It’s a story of war, but of love, too, as she struggles between two men. One is her mentor, the other a Vietnamese man. This is a wonderful book!
Born in Vietnam but raised in the US, Maggie goes back to the country of her birth to find answers about her history. This is a beautiful book set in modern Vietnam.
Have you read any of these, or any others?