The Sorrow Of War: A Novel of North Vietnam The Sorrow Of War question


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Where You're From- Worldy Styles of Writing
Tyson Tyson Jul 01, 2016 09:57AM
As I've passed through different books throughout my years of being alive, it's easier to notice that writing style, much like culture, differentiates based on where you're from. Much like personality, books written by American authors vs. European authors vs. Asian authors all seem to have their own distinct representation of their orientation. When I first begin to notice this, I found it to be overwhelmingly interesting; A means of expressing whatever the purpose and point of your book seems to now have an underlying purpose and point of displaying your cultural background, so to speak. Or something like that.

American authors and European authors hold in common their ability to explain situations, describe in detail the utmost beauty of places and events, and evolve their characters. However, European writers have a knack for it that separates themselves in the way they play it out. Charles Dickens is a good example of an author who encompassed all of the qualities that distinguish a European writer- he was wordy and had a distinct way of explaining things that weren't necessarily straight forward and to the point. He was colorful with his complex characters and settings, putting forth the true nature of the majority of English and Europeans who have published. Granted, Dickens got his start writing chapters for magazines who chose to pay him by the word (little did they know he is the MASTER and literary expansiveness) and so that explains some of his unnecessary length, but, it seemed to have become a point of pride and, in turn, a looked-forward-to aspect of his writing.

American writers are also descriptive. They like to focus on the personalities of their characters, too, although not with the elegance that Europeans seem to naturally possess. George R.R. Martin is a good example of how details are far from ignored, but the wordiness in his books don't stem from the "beat around the bush" type of style as someone like Dickens portrayed, but more because he has a lot of shit to say. Michael Crichton, Philip Roth, Mark Twain, and John Irving all come to mind as American authors from less-different time periods/more-different genres who differentiate the American style from the European one subtly, but enough to notice.

Asian writers are a different beast altogether. This thought process of mine stemmed from just reading The Sorrow Of War, written by Bao Ninh, a former North Vietnamese soldier. He style mimicked a lot of the same traits as Kazuo Ishiguro and Haruki Murakami. A more simplistic mode of writing seems to be the preferred style here, with sentences that don't want to mess around- they tell you as it is and move on.

With the translated writings from Japan (and Vietnam), it's very possible that part of the simplicity in their writing develops partly from the translation itself. I don't read anything but English, so I cannot tell you first hand if that's true, but it seems as if the correlation between translated work and more simplistic storytelling is a faithful one.

Are there any individual, specific traits to novels based on author origin that you've noticed? I'm sure there are plenty more that I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of. It all seems pretty interesting to see how books follow trend based on the nationality of its writer.



Nice evaluate ! If you care , you can read some more Vietnamese litterature like : dumb luck (vu trong phung) . That writer wrote alot before the war, and he had a very different point of view and writting style.


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