The Mountains Sing

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Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai on Writing with Empathy


For NPR, debut novelist Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai discusses her book, The Mountains Sing, which follows four generations of a Vietnamese family and centers on a grandmother and granddaughter. By combining family lore with historical research, she tells a story of a family dealing with the realities of war. “I could only write The Mountains Sing having lived through difficult times,” she explains. “Only through experiencing by myself the challenges faced by the poorest of the poor, the most desperate, could I have that empathy.”

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