Vietnam War Fiction

While there's a lot of famous popular fiction on the war in Vietnam (both books and movies), the majority of them are written from American perspectives. I decided to see whether I could find Vietnam fiction written by Vietnamese perspectives to balance out and expand my thinking on the subject.

If you're interested in reading about the Vietnam War from a Vietnamese #OwnVoices perspective, try out:

The Sorrow of War by Bảo Ninh

Kien is a North Vietnamese soldier whose unit is tasked with body recovery at the end of the war, which triggers memories of the past. This book was banned in Vietnam by the Vietnamese Communist Party for its frank discussion of the brutality of war.  

Novel Without A Name by Dương Thu Hương

Another book banned in Vietnam, this tells the story of a North Vietnamese soldier whose patriotism and conscience has deteriorated over ten years of fighting in the war, leaving him with doubt and regret. If you like this author, also try her novel, Paradise of the Blind.

The Gangster We Are All Looking for by Lê Thị Diễm Thúy 

This refugee story tells of the lingering effect of the war on a family from the perspective of a young Vietnamese girl who has been rescued from the sea, along with her former soldier father and her uncles, as they try to adjust to life in peacetime in a new country.

The Other Side of Heaven

This short story collection brings together stories from both American and Vietnamese writers to examine the aftermath of the war. It includes a story by Vietnamese author Nguyễn Huy Thiệp called The General Retires that was cited by Viet Thanh Nguyen (author of The Sympathizer) as a masterful depiction of "the complexities of postwar life in a disillusioned Vietnam, struggling to rebuild itself."

For more reading options from both American and Vietnamese writers, you can try:

The Top 30 Vietnam War Books from, which includes both fiction and nonfiction or 

The New York Times's list of the Best Books About the Vietnam War, which includes reader suggestions as well as the editor's picks.

What did you think of The Vietnam War by Ken Burns? Let me know in the comments!