Vietnamese crime novels are booming today and crime literature is experiencing some growing success in a context where the market remains still largely dominated by foreign novels. 20 years ago, crime novels were not so popular in Vietnam, and readers were attracted at the time in romance novels or ‘life coaching’. Today, crime novels have invested some publishing houses like Bach Viêt editions and try to establish themselves as a real literary current and no longer a “sub-literature”.
In search of understanding, the mostly young Vietnamese public finds today stories in a detective fiction novel, allowing them to understand the world, and to apprehend it. Besides that, Thrillers fuel the scenarios for television series (American in particular) which are also very successful.
About ten years ago, the novelist Di Li wrote Trại hoa đỏ (The farm of red flowers) and Câu lạc bộ số 7 (Club number 7) which made a lot of noise at the time.
Recently the publishing house Bach Viêt in collaboration with Dân Tri published Ẩn ức trắng (White Hidden Memories), written by Kim Tam Long. Besides Kim Tam Long, who also presented Mặt nạ trắng (White mask), other young detective fiction writers such as Duc Anh, author of Tường lửa (Wall of fire) and Thiên thần mù sương (Angel of dew) or Nguyên Duong Quynh, Pham Anh Tuân and Phi Hành Gia are emerging.
Despite this emerging craze, crime novels in Vietnam are still rarely honored as they should be. Today when a young writer is published, it’s only for 1,000 to 2,000 copies. Obviously, the competition between Vietnamese detective novels and foreign novels is fierce, but let’s hope that over time the Vietnamese thriller will no longer be despised, but will gain its acclaim as it should be.