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Life is never boring

Read a book with friends: Life is never boring - Photo 1.

The story is about a village in the Ba Lau mountain range. One year, there was a great drought, intense heat, withering the land and trees, the whole village abandoned all houses and fields to find another place to live. The whole village left, only a seventy-two year old old man halfway back to the village. He saved a dog that was forced to be sacrificed for an offering to chase the sun but was blinded by the sunlight. The old man and the blind dog together guard a corn sprout to hope it grows into a corn plant to save life for the arid countryside. The whole book is the struggle of people and dogs to protect the corn plant from dying, from dying. The old man had found a way to drive away the large number of rats like an army that was only about to attack him and the blind dog and devour the corn. The old man tried every way to get water for the tree, despite having to spend a night alone fighting a pack of nine wolves. In the remaining strength of an old man and in the situation that there was no food left in the village, in the midst of a mountainous landscape that was fiercely burned by the sun, with only a blind dog beside him, the old man do all that needs to be done, must be done to keep the corn plant alive. The name of the book that counts the time of day and year also shows the will of man to live.


Author: Duong Lien Khoa (China)

Translator: Minh Thuong (from Chinese)

Tao Dan & Writers Association Publishing House, 2022

Number of pages: 162 (size 13×20.5cm)

Quantity: 1000

Selling price: 120,000 VND

Coming up with a story like this is Diem Lien Khoa’s good point. And he wrote stories in a style that is both realistic and symbolic. With just an old man, a blind dog and a corn tree, the writer wrote a fairy tale praising the vitality of people to overcome and overcome harsh circumstances, dare to accept and cope with fate even when fell down. This story is reminiscent of “The Old Man and the Sea” (1952) by E. Hemingway. The old American writer Santiago’s old man went out to sea to catch a big swordfish, but during his struggle with sharks to pull the fish he caught ashore, the fish only had a skeleton. But his efforts were not wasted when there was a child who sympathized with him and wanted to follow his example to the sea.

The unnamed old man of the Chinese writer ended up dying with his blind dog in the gutter-shaped hole he dug for himself, and the corn plant also died. But on the charred stalk of corn, there was still a big cob, and in that corn were “seven grains as big as the belly of a finger, transparent like a pearl”. That’s why when the villagers returned and left the village again, this time was different from the last time that there was not only one person like the old man staying. Now clinging to the village are “seven sons of seven households in this village, they are young, healthy, and strong, with seven huts on seven slopes, on seven brown plots far away. Together, they fought tirelessly against the sun and loneliness, growing seven fresh green corn plants. The story ends like that with an optimistic ray of hope, not to the point of absurdity like Sisyphus in Greek mythology who was made into a novel by Albert Camus (French writer, 1957 Nobel Prize for literature). Poor Sisyphus was forced by day to roll a stone to the top of a mountain, but by evening the stone rolled down, causing him to repeat this meaningless act endlessly.

Yan Lianke (born 1958) is the most famous Chinese writer today. His works delve deeply into the reality of the country, expose the painful problems of society, and raise urgent questions about the fate of the Chinese people today. Some novels of Diem Lien Khoa have been translated into Vietnamese, in which translator Minh Thuong contributed much. She has translated by Diem Lien Khoa such books as “Kien stubborn as water” (Translated Literary Prize of Hanoi Writers’ Association 2014), “Ding Trang Dream”, “Miss Kim Lien in Ximen Town” and now “Day month Year”. The diligent perseverance of a translator into a foreign author like the case of Minh Thuong – Diem Lien Khoa has created an opportunity for domestic readers to systematically approach the works of a famous writer in Vietnamese literature. study abroad, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of that author, that literature. It was Minh Thuong who was the bridge to invite writer Diem Lien Khoa to come to Vietnam in 2020 to interact with readers and literary circles of our country.

See you next time with other new books!

Hanoi, April 20, 2022

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