Đất Rừng Phương Nam


Historical Fiction


Đoàn Giỏi




Đất rừng phương Nam(quick translate: the Southern land) is a short novel written by Đoàn Giỏi and was first published in 1957. Đoàn Giỏi was borned in 1925 and passed away in 1989. He has other pseudonyms such as: Nguyen Hoai, Nguyen Phu Le, Huyen Tu. Being a son of Tien Giang, his works often talk about the wild, majestic scenery of the southern land and the warm-hearted and enthusiastic people there. His most recognize able work is the novel “Đất rừng phương Nam”. This have been made into a movie in 1997.

The story revolves around the adventure of a teenager named An. After 1945, when South Vietnam was once again invaded by France, An’s family needed to evacuate.  An was 12 years old who lived at Tien Giang, in a city called Dinh Tuong. While they are moving, An was left behind because he was too busy playing with other kids. He followed a troop transport but was once again he was left at a small local market. Here he met aunt Tư, a tavern owner. He worked as a waiter at the tavern so that he have enough food to not starve. But not for long, Tư Mắm and his wife-a couple of unpatriotic Vietnamese burned down aunt Tư’s tavern, An was once again abandoned. Luckily, he met a snake seller. After following the man, An became his adopted son. While living with him, An met many people including Cò-the snake seller biological son, Cò’s mom and Võ Tòng-a really strong and mysterious man. The snake seller loved An so much, he often invited An to catch snakes, collect honey,… with him. Some time later, Võ Tòng decided to ambush the enemy near the river he lived by. He successfully killed an unpatriotic Vietnamese and a puppet soldier. But in the end, Võ Tòng was shot by Tư Mắm’s wife. In order to avenge for his friend, the snake seller ambushed under the river and shot Tư Mắm’s wife with a crossbow. After ending the woman life, his family moved to different places. The story ended when An became a small soldier.

Through this book, we are able to see how south Vietnam was like back then. “The closer you get to Ca Mau cape, the tighter the river and canal cling like a spider’s web. Above, blue sky below, blue water, all around me is only a green leaf. The endless murmur of the green forests of the four seasons, and the murmuring from the East Sea and the Gulf of Thailand day and night unceasingly in the salt wind – the sound that comes out with each deep sleep, makes us more tired and tired. gradually weakening the discriminating function of human vision in front of a landscape that is only quietly a monotonous blue” Through the pen of Doan Gioi, southern nature is tinged with a primitive but also really attractive. The painting Land of the Forest in the South will lack a soul when it does not mention honest and generous people.  It is the funny old Ba Ngu but can become serious at any time, the cunning, alert and judgmental boy An. It’s the simple, honest, fat aunt Tu, ready to take care of the lost child or the Co’s family warmly adopted An.  There are people everywhere.  But the people and militia of the South always warm people’s hearts because of their affirmative personality, patriotic heart and resolute loyalty to the nation. My favourite scene was when An’s family started to evacuate. When they are moving, An saw some old men ambushing the enemy. They didn’t even have any guns or any other advanced weapons, they only had bamboo stakes. But that didn’t stop them from fighting the enemy. They were the representation of Vietnamese people, wholeheartedly for the country.

In my opinion, this is a really worth reading book. It shows us the beuty of the Southern land and the people there. Also, the book usually smells good so I give it a solid 4.5/5!!!!!!!

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