Trinh Cong Son: Vet Chan Da Trang

The banning of Ban Mai’s Trinh Cong Son: Vet Chan Da Trang from releasing in Viet Nam piqued my curiosity. Trinh Cong Son is without a doubt one of the greatest songwriters of Viet Nam and many books have written about his life and his music. Why is this one prohibited?

In the biography section, Ban Mai briefly, unintentionally rubbed the sensitive spot in regarding to Trinh Cong Son’s neutral position of the war, which didn’t sit well with a few high-ranked officials. That was enough to cease the distribution of the book.

Vet Chan Da Trang was originally a thesis; therefore, only 66 out of 282 pages are reading materials. The rest is just appendix of song lists and lyrics. The author had done a decent job of keeping the biography part concise, yet she only scratched the surface when delving into his lyrical analysis. She drew mostly from other sources to explain his lyrical craftsmanship instead of providing her own interpretation. As a result, the book is disappointedly thin on contents.