AUSTRALIANS ARE EAGER to learn ever more about the Australian side of the Gallipoli conflict, but not the Turkish experience. Similarly, there is growing interest in Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War but little attempt to understand what it meant to the Vietnamese. This is the result of Vietnamese migration to Australia, tourism and more recently, a growing wish to commemorate Australian casualties and battles, and acknowledge the postwar experience of veterans. The meaning of the war to Vietnamese people, their culture and history, remain neglected. Popular views of the war have been filtered through American films and books; serious Vietnamese literature has received little attention in Australia.
Bao Ninh’s partly autobiographical novel, The Sorrow of War, a highly praised best-seller in Vietnam, Europe and America, is available in Australia only by import. It was published in America in 1993, and Britain the following year. Many paperback reprints have followed.
Already a subscriber? Sign in here