Well-known author of historical novels leaves mark on Vietnamese literature

(VOVWORLD) - Award-winning writer Nguyen Xuan Khanh has passed away at the age of 89. Khanh’s literary works, which are imbued with humanitarian values, and thoughts about history, culture, and Buddhist philosophy, have left profound impression on readers as well as Vietnamese literature. 

Well-known author of historical novels leaves mark on Vietnamese literature - ảnh 1Writer Nguyen Xuan Khanh (1933-2021). (Photo: Hanoi Writers’ Association)

Writer Nguyen Xuan Khanh helped launch a revolution in modern Vietnamese literature. He wrote a popular series of books about Vietnamese culture and history, including Ho Quy Ly, Mau Thuong Ngan (Mountain Goddess) and Doi Gao Len Chua (Bring Rice to the Pagoda).

His book about Ho Quy Ly, the founder of the 15th century Ho dynasty, became a literary phenomenon because it mentioned reform policies. 

“The novel “Ho Quy Ly” focuses on the Ho Dynasty, and developments in that period of Vietnam’s history. It reflects the writer’s personal views on Vietnam’s development,” said Ngo Giang, a journalist from the Vietnam Writers’ Association.

Khanh’s novel “Mountain Goddess” depicts Vietnam’s rural areas during the French colonial era. In this novel, Khanh used Dao Mau (the worship of mother goddesses) to represent the transition from traditional culture to Western culture.

The novel “Bring Rice to the Pagoda” was published in 2011 on the theme of Buddhism, featuring Vietnam’s different periods: the battles against the French colonialists, land reform, and national reunification. Khanh said his own life experiences are reflected in this 900-page novel.

“The book depicts the Vietnamese soul and Buddhism in Vietnam. I wanted to highlight Buddhist teachings, which help people live better lives,” he said.

Many of Khanh’s works portray the image of Vietnamese women. He said, “The Buddhist philosophy also features the important role of women who boast a wealth of good qualities, such as modesty, resilience, and great love”.

Well-known author of historical novels leaves mark on Vietnamese literature - ảnh 2Chuyen Ngo Ngheo (The story of the poor alley) by writer Nguyen Xuan Khanh. (Photo: Literature Publishing House)

Nguyen Xuan Khanh’s last novel, Chuyen Ngo Ngheo (The story of the poor alley) published in 2016, is autobiographical and won him a Lifetime Literary Achievement Award from the Hanoi Writers’ Association.

Nguyen Xuan Khanh also translated many works, including Nathalie Sarraute's The Golden Fruits and Jules Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon.