Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 206
Novel Without a Name is Vietnamese author Duong Thu Huong's (born 1947) 1995 story about a soldier in Vietnam during the 1970s.
The protagonist of the novel is Quan, a 28-year-old Vietnam man in the tenth year of military service. Though, we are told, Quan was initially an enthusiastic army recruit, a decade of war has left its toll, and he is now skeptical about the cause for which he is fighting.
Bien is Quan's friend with whom he had initially joined the military. Bien's imprisonment behind enemy lines is the onus for Quan's quest in the story; he is sent on a mission to free him and ultimately discovers Bien's long time in captivity has taken a toll on his mental health.
A third friend of Quan's, Luong, has risen in the ranks and - at the time of the story - is deputy commander of Quan's division. It is Luong who assigns Quan his mission to rescue Bien.
During the course of his mission, Quan visits his home village, which supplies a further tapestry of characters who help define Quan's personality. These include members of Quan's immediate family such as his father, as well as his girlfriend Hoa, who has been disowned by her own parents.