Dec 30, 2020 / 15:56

The Road to Thang Long: Vo Nguyen Giap - A Vietnamese immortal

It will be difficult for a writer to depict such historical character as General Vo Nguyen Giap, because of the "epic gap", as the theoreticians have pointed out. But in the novel "The Road to Thang Long", author Nguyen The Quang cleverly crossed this immutable boundary.

The red thread of the book

Right in chapter one of the novel, the main character Vo Nguyen Giap appears, and until the end, becoming a guiding thread throughout the work. The image of the General is a man who "puts work above all else”. Mr. Giap, an excellent disciple of President Ho Chi Minh, is a man of action with great intellect and passionate patriotism. 

The cover of "The Road to Thang Long" of author Nguyen The Quang

In more than 500 pages, the book focuses on telling the great revolutionary careers of a golden generation, devoting their entire lives to the nation and people. The novel also mentions many great historical characters such as Phan Boi Chau, Phan Chau Trinh, Huynh Thuc Khang, and then the excellent disciples of President Ho Chi Minh including Pham Van Dong, Truong Chinh, Vo Nguyen Giap as well as the notable intellectuals of the country including Cao Xuan Huy, Dang Thai Mai, Dao Duy Anh, Hoang Xuan Han and Nguyen Van Huyen.

Notably, in "The Road to Thang Long", the author overcame the barriers of prejudice to talk fairly about such “sensitive” characters as Bao Dai, Tran Trong Kim, Vinh Thuy, Nguyen Hai Than, Nguyen Tuong Tam, Vu Hong Khanh, among others. The character Vo Nguyen Giap will be "lonely" without a strong link with these historical figures, his contemporaries, in my opinion. They are extremely powerful magnets that have an irresistible attraction.

Revealing the secret of an unclear historical period

"Reading "The Road to Thang Long", I feel as if the main character Vo Nguyen Giap irradiates, something has rarely happened to me as a literary critic. But this character does not make readers feel distant, on the contrary, very close, even as a soulmate," Author Nguyen The Quang wrote in his book.

Vo Nguyen Giap was one of the outstanding disciples of President Ho Chi Minh. Photo: Ho Chi Minh Museum. 

Author Nguyen The Quang also boldly portrayed the personal love story of General Vo Nguyen Giap but with no intention of selling the book. The author has been successful in finding the so-called "man in man" (according to the Russian scientist M. Bakhtin, author of the work Theory and Poetry which was translated and widely introduced in Vietnam).

I agree with the opinion of writer Nguyen Khac Phe in the introduction to the book: "The author boldly describes the “possible real” things which are blurred in history. According to literary theory, the author's way of writing in "The Road to Thang Long" is based on "the possibility”. It seems that the author’s conviction is so strong that he bravely does a surgery on the complicated "cases" of history such as Tran Trong Kim, Nguyen Tuong Tam, among others, and goes beyond the normal “avoiding” writing style on these “sensitive” characters.

Vo Nguyen Giap was one of the outstanding disciples of President Ho Chi Minh. In this work, he appeared humbly but courageous, calm but strategic, patient but did not miss the opportunity when it arrived. The General's happiness was to be with the leader Ho Chi Minh, shared with him challenging and successful moments and was led by him on the great battle of national liberation and independence to build a new society of peace, happiness and freedom.