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Novel without a Name

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  523 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A piercing, unforgettable tale of the horror and spiritual weariness of war, Novel Without a Name will shatter every preconception Americans have about what happened in the jungles of Vietnam. With Duong Thu Huong, whose Paradise of the Blind was published to high critical acclaim in 1993, Vietnam has found a voice both lyrical and stark, powerful enough to capture the con ...more
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published February 15th 1995 by William Morrow (first published 1991)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,286)
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Aubrey
Lovesick doves cooed all day in the bamboo. Grasshoppers flew in the grass on the edge of the dikes. Women laughed, teasing and chasing one another, rolling in the rice fields. They made us laugh...There was once a kite that dipped and swayed in the blue of the sky, our dreams reeling in the same space...And there is the earth, this mud where the flesh rots, where eyes decompose. These arms, these legs that crunch in the jaws of the boars. The souls ulcerated and foul from killing, the bodies s
...more
Zanna
Jul 27, 2015 Zanna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zanna by: Aubrey
We might look at it this way: one of the areas of life from which female voices are sorely absent is the war front. There are relatively few soldierly memoirs, fictionalised or otherwise, by women. Duong Thu Huong fought in the war she describes, yet she chooses to take the perspective of a man, Quan, who is living in the blur of transitions from young to middle-aged, from idealism to disillusionment through the dark tunnel of a long, grinding conflict.

Initially I was disappointed by her decisio
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Sentimental Surrealist
We've all, I'm sure, seen plenty of anti-Vietnam movies - Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, The Deer Hunter. But how many of us have experienced a piece of art that told Vietnam's story from the Vietnamese perspective? Duong Thu Huong seeks to give the country a voice with this novel, and oh does she succeed in the most horrifying way imaginable.

This novel is often compared with All Quiet on the Western Front, and like that novel, this is a largely unstructured and plotless novel, to f
...more
Andrew
Why I think this might be the finest piece of Vietnam War fiction I've ever read, even better than the fine accounts given by Tim O'Brien and Bao Ninh, and a ready rival to that of Denis Johnson.

Most American art tends to describe the Vietnam War in gruff plainspeak (The Things They Carried, The Deer Hunter) or fractured psychedelia (Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Tree of Smoke), Vietnamese writers take a different tack altogether. Vietnam might have been the war that signaled the end of Ame
...more
Windy hapsari
i cant say this is my review, its more like my comment. this book is my favourite book, about the vietnam war, about how the vietnamnesse face the war. I read this book is like a thousand time. but i never get bored.
I always have negative opinion about army or soldier, but maybe in the war situation those soldier return to their main function. to defend their country, to be the savior.
McKenzie
Dương Thu Hương wrote about Vietnam from an experiential pov, having lived through war herself. The images she invokes are both incredibly beautiful and terribly horrible. These are captured in brief sentences and short paragraphs, frequently alternating between these two poles so that there is not an over-emphasis on one or another image, and instead a visceral blending occurs. So that,
Even silk has a rough side.


to put it very mildly.

Many aspects of war are covered in, “Novel Without a Nam
...more
Frances Kuffel
Set in Vietnam in 1975, on the verge of South Vietnam's capitulation to the north, Novel Without a Name is narrated by a North Vietnamese soldier who has been fighting for ten years. His round-trip journey to the north and back to the front for the final push, on his first leave, is both a love song of the country and its pre-colonial history, and an indictment of what the war has wrought on the people Quan has known or meets: his best friend's humiliation that after ten years he is still a serg ...more
nanto
Buku ini, adalah kisah perjuangan bangsa Vietnam ketika mereka masih terbelah dalam dua negara. Amerika begitu berperan dalam membantu bagian selatan negeri ini, buku ini adalah sudut pandang pejuang dari utara.

Berbicara mengenai cerita perjuangan, buku ini cukup menarik. Vietnam memiliki kesamaan strategic culture dengan Indonesia. Bukan saja mereka pernah mengusir penjajahnya dengan kekuatan senjata, tetapi mereka mengembangkan taktik tempur yang membuat setiap pertempuran adalah medan berat b
...more
Joan Colby
Told from the perspective of a North Vietnamese soldier, this novel provides a very different view of the conflict. The people disdainfully referred to as gooks in Matterhorn are revealed as human beings: sensitive, callous, conflicted, corrupt, caring. Duong Thus Huong was a leader of a volunteer collective during the war and was one of just three (out of 40) to survive. While she is a woman, Novel Without a Name is told from a male perspective. Duong Thus Huong’s books were highly praised, but ...more
Brian
This novel needs no name although I guess Novel without a Name is officially a name. It's about war, the Vietnam war, from the north Vietnamese perspective. The Americans are the bad guys... so are the south Vietnamese. The north won. But everyone lost. This is not a book of propaganda. It's a sorrowful tale of a society lost in the machine.

This is a brutal book. It's not filled with gruesome images of war but with pictures of a life lost. The narrator joined the war to fight for glory. Ten year
...more
Andrew
This is a grim book, a book about war and the effect constant fighting has on one person, a fighter in the North Vietnamese army. Novel Without a Name by Duong Thu Houng is a book about Quan's disillusionment, not only with the political institutions and propagandas perpetuated by them, but with everyone around him...maybe even in himself.

While Americans are the enemy in the book, it is universal. How young men fight the wars that old men start, and how wily politicians make money off the misery
...more
Lucy Cruickshanks
With so much written of the Vietnam War from the American perspective, it is fascinating – and important – to find novels that balance the Vietnamese perspective too, and humanise the people the Americans fought against. The imagery is extremely vivid, and this is the novel’s real strength. The author doesn’t hold back on the details of war, but she tells them with admirable control, which gives them such resonance. The passage likening an orangutan to a pregnant woman as it boils in the supper ...more
Rizal Nova Mujahid
Novel Tanpa Nama.

Buku yang sangat menarik. Alurnya mengalir tanpa cela. Cerita tidak membosankan dan seperti hidup, hampir-hampir kita tidak bisa menduga apa yang sedang menunggu di halaman berikutnya.

Percintaan, persahabatan, pengkhianatan, iri, cemburu, ideologi, perang, hidup, mati dan lain-lain, sempurna ditangkap lalu dituangkan dalam rangkaian kata cantik. Sangat jujur, tidak berlebihan, tidak bertele-tele, apalagi berbunga-bunga. Lugas dan jujur berkata, lugas dan jujur menghadapi hidup.
...more
David Russomano
As I read this book, I got the distinct impression that something was missing, but it took me quite a while to figure out what it was. A plot arch. There are several mini-waves throughout the story, several small incidents of rising action. Will the protagonist get out of the forest? Will he make it to his village? Will he make it back to the front line? But, there's hardly anything to link it all together into a unified narrative. The story takes us almost right up to the end of the war but it' ...more
Karlina
Quan, prajurit komunis berusai 28 tahun. Ia masuk dinas militer pada usia 18 tahun bersama teman kecilnya, Luong dan Bien. PErang kemudian merubah persahabtan mereka: karir Luong cemerlang, Quan lumayan dan Bien sempat dianggap gila.Quan tak menyukai perang, tapi ia tak punya pilihan. Ia melihat bagaimana perang memporak porandakan kehidupan:cinta, keluarga, persahabatan... dan tak tahu kapan semua keabsurdan itu akan berujung.
Valerie
This was a book I would never have chosen to read myself, had it not have been on the reading list for my module on Cold War lit. Filled with the atrocities of the Vietnam war, the author definitely aimed at shocking the reader. The blunt and 'distant' narration, however, made it hard to identify with the main character or his situation. It was ok to read but didnot really appeal to me
William
I read this book back to back with Tim O'Brien's brilliant 'The Things They Carried'. Both paint a portrait of the war in Vietnam from a soldier's perspective.
In this case Quan is a VietCong who has spent 10 brutal years fighting. The book tells the story of a journey home to try to save a childhood friend. The journey is very much a journey into his own past and the effect of the war on him and all those he knew. It is also a poignant tale of loss and disillusionment but told without romanticis
...more
Margiant Sadian
Novel ini semakin membuatku jatuh hati dengan sastra Asia...

Tentang kecamuk perang Vietnam dengan sudut pandang tentara-garis-depan... Dengan penggambaran setting yang eksotik, namun penuh cekam di sana-sini. Duong sangat pandai mengaduk-aduk emosi tokoh utama dengan tali permasalahan; idealisme personal, politik negara, persahabatan, cinta, keluarga, dan kampung halaman...

Saya hanya kurang menyukai sajak-sajak yang berterbaran di dalam buku, yang menurut saya terkesan dipaksakan... Tapi, sebaga
...more
Maisha Maliha
Amazing narration. Proof that violence transcends gender. One of the best war novels I've read so far.
Debra J.
I'll be going to Vietnam this summer, so I am particularly interested in reading that gives some insight into that country's past and present. The story of a North Vietnamese soldier in the years leading up to their victory, this novel uses flashbacks to document a story of hope and disillusionment. At a few points, the story seems a bit disconnected, but this did not detract from the bigger picture. I appreciated the inclusion of the tragedy of women's experience, seen through the eyes of the s ...more
Aaron Myall
This is a really good book and interesting story.
Travis Zuber
This book was a wonderful read that did not take too much time, but was filled with eye opening detail about the North Vietnamese and their ordeal during the Vietnam War. Much like the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq, the people of Vietnam suffered unimaginable horrors during their two wars against foreign powers. Duong does an amazing job illustrating the universal issues soldiers on both sides faced while at the same time the issue of feeling disenchanted with the "mission" of the war after s ...more
Leslie-ann
We often do not get to glimpse at the other side of war--the side we fight against, are taught to hate.

This is the story about a young Viet Cong. It is extremely brutal and shows that there is only one evil in war: war itself.

I wish all Americans would read this as they learn about the Vietnam War from their history books--it shows a side we are not taught. It will wrap you in its horror and make you contemplate the ramifications of war as well as the political reasons for fighting.
Richard Gilpin
Remarkable story. Reminded me of The Red Badge of Courage, however I read that before experiencing the Vietnam war. Some of this may not be understandable unless you were there, or may seem so bizarre as to be unreal. This is may be fiction but it is all real. It does not matter anymore which side we were on, the human toll on bodies and psyche were enormous. I waited a long time after buying this before I could read it.
Lightningcub
It was very moving, and supplied the narrative that did not surprise me a lot after visiting the Army Museum in Hanoi, and the Women's Museum in Hanoi. It was great reading if somewhat depressing. In fact, I did not finish the book. That speaks less for the quality of the book than my personal feelings about the Vietnam war I was a participant in, somewhat as a spectator on a hospital ship.
Pamela
This novel is insightful from the long suffering perspective of the Vietnamese natives during the Vietnam war. Duong's writing is surreal and beautiful. Dream sequences melt in and out of the narrative in a most organic fashion that seems absolutely human. I would say the humanity of the Vietnamese is exposed in this novel. It reads like a long series of prose poetry. Beautiful.
Jenn
I'm not sure where, exactly, I am in terms of my reaction to this book. I had a tough time believing the narrator was a man, but I don't know for certain that is a problem with the writing, the translation, or my preconceived notions of what a male narrator "sounds like." It is worth the read, however, to get "the other side's" view of war even though it isn't really isn't pro-North.
Liberty
Meh. I appreciate it. I like the main characters voice. I like his disillusioned inner dialogue. Hurong prose was lovely on a sentence level but the subject matter just doesn't interest me. So 3. Read it if you like war books.
Lhavanya Dl
Not bad. Interesting viewpoint of a Viet Cong soldier during the Vietnam war. I like the fact that its written by a Vietnamese woman directly involved in the war. Not very useful if you're trying to learn about Vietnam itself or about the events in the war but good if you're particularly interested in viewpoints and situations of people during the war.
Nossamael
une ambiance. un style. un contexte propre difficile. une histoire bien contée, une dénonciation politique perceptible. je conseille!
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Dương Thu Hương (b. 1947) is a Vietnamese author and political dissident. Formerly a member of Vietnam's communist party, she was expelled from the party in 1989, and has been denied the right to travel abroad, and was temporarily imprisoned for her writings and outspoken criticism of corruption in the Vietnamese government.

Born in 1947 in Thai Binh a province in northern Vietnam, Dương came of ag
...more
More about Dương Thu Hương...
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