Benjamin Rasmussen

“One afternoon he walks past a man selling cobras on the sidewalk. The snakes look as if they’re dead, exhausted by the demands of a hectic life and wishing to return to that other, safer jungle.

On the opposite side of the street, children gather around a blind man who sells colourful balloons.

Around the lake the homeless sleep on stone benches. Autumn leaves fall and make a soft carpet on the grass. The city is crowded, but sad. One day he set out to go to an office to work, but when he got to the street he turned round and went back, going upstairs and closing the door behind him.

Picture postcards from his writing life.”

From The Sorrow of War by Bảo Ninh.

The Bind Man's Colorful Balloons is an exploration of Northern Vietnam using Bảo Ninh’s beautiful and influential novel as the guiding text.
“On bad nights he would lose control altogether and break down, sobbing into his pillow. Yet he knew that if she returned to him both of them would suffer again.”
“Nothing lasted forever in this world, he knew that. Even love and sorrow inside an aging man would finally dissipate under the realization that his suffering, his tortured thoughts, were small and meaningless in the overall scheme of things. Like wispy smoke spiraling into the sky, glimpsed for a moment, then gone.”
“But war was a world with no home, no roof, no comforts. A miserable journey, of endless drifting. War was a world without real men, without real women, without feeling.”
“The sorrow of war inside a soldier’s heart was in a strange way similar to the sorrow of love. It was a kind of nostalgia, like the immense sadness of a world at dusk. It was a sadness, a missing, a pain which could send one soaring back into the past. The sorrow of the battlefield could not normally be pinpointed to one particular event, or even one person. If you focused on any one event it would soon become a tearing pain.”