The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.


Book: The Mountains Sing


Author: Nguyen Phan Que Mai (I can’t do the accent marks to properly spell their name, so sorry!)


Book Series: Standalone


Rating: 4/5


Diversity: Vietnamese Main Family!


Publication Date: March 17, 2020


Genre: Historical Fiction


Recommended Age: 16+ (war, violence, slight gore, family conflict)


Publisher: Algonquin Books


Pages: 352


Amazon Link


Synopsis: With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the BanyanThe Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.


Review: I thought this book was very well written and almost lyrical in how it was written. The book is a multi-generational book (kind of like Roots) where this family weaves their story together. It’s a wonderful tale that describes the absolute horrors, but absolute strength of people in war time.


However, I did feel like the characters didn’t connect with me. I’m not sure if it was because we were just forced into each character or if it was just the slow pacing that didn’t make me connect with the book, but I kind of want to reread it to try and connect with them again.


Verdict: Definitely recommend!