Chronicles of a Village

Nguyen Thanh Hien


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Yale University Press
14 May 2024
ISBN: 9780300276404
144 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Quyen Nguyen-Hoang

An incantatory poetic novel that interweaves the legends, tragedies, and histories of a village in Vietnam

“The book bursts with characters, poetry, philosophy, romance, violence, and struggle. . . . A dreamlike, original, strangely hopeful book.”—Kirkus Reviews

At the foot of Mun Mountain in central Vietnam, a self-appointed scribe collects the stories of his neighbors—tales of love, nature, and war—and weaves them into a surrealist history of their farming community. In crystalline fragments resembling prose poems, the scribe eternalizes the vanishing beauty and tragic transformation of the village—its sacred forests, astonishing animals, mythical figures, and human lives nurtured by a profound love for soil and sky, as well as its catastrophes: ecological destruction, political purges, asphyxiating modernity, violence, and indoctrination in the name of progress.
Nguyễn Thanh Hiện’s Chronicles of a Village, the writer’s first work to be translated into English, is an elegy for a place and a people; a profound meditation on how history is created, destroyed, manipulated, and rewritten; and a tribute to the beauty and “fatal historical disabilities of a land.”