The Mountains Sing

The Mountains Sing by Phan Que Mai Nguyen (Vietnam)

by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Paperback, 368 pages
Published by Algonquin Books (2021)
ISBN: ‎ 978-1643751351

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 apart not just her beloved country, but also her family.

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.

Winner of the 2021 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award
Runner-up of the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize
Winner of the 2021 International Book Awards (Literary Fiction and Multicultural Fiction categories)
Winner of the Blogger’s Book Prize 2021

NB Magazine‘s Book of the Year
Winner of the Blogger’s Book Prize 2021

Finalist of the Audie 2021 Best Audiobook of the Year Award
Winner of BookBrowse‘s Best Debut Award for 2020
A Best Book of 2020: NPR’s Book Concierge PopMatters Washington Independent Review of Books Real Simple The Buzz Magazine * She Reads  * NB Magazine​ BookBrowse Paperback Paris Writer’s Bone * Global Atlanta

About the author

Dr Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is an award-winning Vietnamese poet, writer, journalist, and translator. She is the author of twelve books of poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction and has translated seven books. Her last book, The Mountains Sing, was an international bestseller, runner-up for the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the 2021 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship, and other prizes. Her writing has been translated into more than 15 languages and has appeared in major publications, including the New York Times. She has a PhD in creative writing from Lancaster University. While working on her most recent novel, Dust Child, Quế Mai helped set up a scholarship program for Amerasians in Việt Nam (the Amerasian Hope & Future Scholarship). For more information, visit: