Paradise of the Blind


Paradise of the Blind (Những thiên đường mù) is a novel by female writer Dương Thu Hương, published in 1988. It was the first Vietnamese novel published in English in the United States.[1] It is now banned in Vietnam because of the political views it expounds.


Hang, the protagonist, journeys on a train to visit her Uncle Chinh. While on the train she remembers her life and various stories about her family through flashbacks.

Major characters

  • Hang

Hang is the narrator of the story. Throughout her journey to Moscow she recounts significant events in her childhood. As she is looking back on the past, she realizes it is the steadfast resolve toward familial duty that has made her family so miserable. She realizes this does not have to be her fate. While she is waiting to leave Russia for Vietnam, she sees a group of young Japanese students who are happy and laughing and free. She longs to be Japanese, of a race that does not carry the same burdens as her people. She resolves to do what it is that makes her happy—because her duty to her mother, who would sacrifice her own daughter to help her corrupt brother—is not happiness.[2]

  • Que
  • Aunt Tam
  • Uncle Chinh
  • Ton

Important Symbols

  • Que's Roof
  • Hang's Earrings
  • Cripple's Song
  • Duckweed Flowers
  • The Fog
  • Aunt Tam's House
  • Que's Accident

Major Issues

  • Beauty and Cruelty of Vietnamese Culture
  • Strength/Suffering of Women under Confucian ideologies
  • Duplicity of Self Sacrifice vs. Paranoia
  • Food as a symbol of Human Expression
  • Lack of individuality
  1. ^ [1] Archived January 13, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Bookrags Staff. "Paradise of the Blind Characters". BookRags. BookRags, Inc. Retrieved 11 April 2016.

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