Rating: 5 out of 5.

the mountains sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, 351 pp

historical asian fiction

The Mountains Sing has been sitting in my Audible library for almost a year. Why did I wait so long to press the PLAY button for this powerful and moving story? Mountains tells the story of Hương, a young girl and her grandmother’s and mother’s stories surviving the horrific history and political struggles in war-torn Vietnam throughout most of the 20th century. As a child of the 60s and 70s, I knew about the Vietnam War from a U.S. perspective. How could you miss it with Walter Cronkite tuned in on the black-and-white TV set for the Nightly News and your oldest brother eligible for the draft (and the deep exhale throughout the house when your father, a Lt. Cmdr. USNR, secured his assignment in Japan for 18 months)? Reading and learning about this time and place in history from a Vietnamese perspective, however, was invaluable. Family divided like the country. Anguish and loss of life and home. Finding a song in your heart to lift your head to the mountains to discover beauty amidst the rubble. I’m glad I scrolled back in my library to find this one to celebrate and honor Asian American Month in May. Suggested companion read: The Things They Carry by Tim O’Brien.

I listened to this one on Audible and can share the link if you’re interested – drop me a comment through the Contact page.

More great reads this spring!

Check out my other top picks for Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Non-Fiction and Simple Pleasure Reading.

That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.

Jhumpa Lahiri

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