Crossroads and Lampposts

£13.99

Available End 2026

Out of stock

Category:

Description

“I cannot identify, in the diary, the page that marks the end of a war, nor the one that marks the beginning of another. But I remember, one ordinary afternoon, I suddenly turned around and saw smoke rising behind me. Another afternoon, war had already encircled me, blocking all my paths home.”

The origins of Crossroads and Lampposts can be traced back to a project sponsored by the Hanoi Police Department in the early 1960s. The handwritten manuscript was completed in 1966 and submitted to the Police Department for review. It was returned to Trần Dần 22 years later, in 1988, but remained unpublished until 2011. Trần Dần himself passed away in 1997. Indeed, “manuscripts don’t burn.”In an era when Hồ Chí Minh’s foot soldiers and socialist industrial workers represented the ideal Vietnamese men, the novel follows the life of an upper-middle-class Hanoian named Dưỡng who deserted from the army of the disintegrating anti-communist state on the eve of the communist takeover of Hanoi in 1954. Patched from first-person accounts – diaries, interview transcripts, confessions – the narrative is as gripping as it is enigmatic.

Written in the early 1960s, Crossroads and Lampposts captures the vertigo experienced by many Vietnamese as the peace brought about by the Vietnamese victory at Điện Biên Phủ in 1954 proved to be short-lived and once again, North Vietnamese were plunged into the state of war against the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) and their American supporters. The novel not only sheds light on a little-understood yet crucial period in modern Vietnam but, above all, provides an extraordinary depiction of the universal human experience of navigating changes and searching for one’s identity amidst turbulent times.

Additional information

Original Title

Những ngã tư và những cột đèn

Author

Trần Dần

Translator

Uyên Nguyễn

Genre

Fiction

Format

Flexibound

Pages

400

Original Publication Year

2010

Major Books Publication Year

2026 End