Mourning Headband for Hue: An Account of the Battle for Hue, Vietnam 1968 - Nha Ca (2014)

List of Characters


 narrator’s younger cousin; soldier in the South Vietnamese forces; twenty-seven years old

 narrator’s younger sister; seventeen years old

Lễ narrator’s elder brother; a teacher and a school principal; thirtyfive years old

Thái narrator’s younger cousin; member of the Rural Development Force; twenty-five years old

Vân narrator, Nhã Ca herself, using her real name, Trần Thị Thu Vân; twenty-nine years old

Vân’s mother (unnamed)

Vân’s uncle (unnamed)


Ái woman living in the same hamlet where Thái’s uncle Giáo lived; mother of Hiền

Bảo Lê’s cousin who joined Lê’s family in the shelter of Phan Bội Châu’s ancestor-worshipping house and with whom Lê flees

 wife of the narrator’s elder brother Lễ

Bèo (Mr. Bèo) a noodle maker in the Citadel; during the Tết Offensive he became an informer for the Communist forces 3

Đắc (full name Nguyễn Đắc Xuân) Khâm’s former closest friend who joined the Communist forces and returned to Hue during the Tết Offensive (see more on him in Translator’s Introduction)

Điện son of the narrator’s younger cousin Bé

Đoan (full name Nguyễn Thị Đoan Trinh) one of the commanders of the Communist security units during the Tết Offensive

Đội Hòa narrator’s uncle, her mother’s elder brother who was killed during the Tết Offensive

Giáo Thái’s uncle in whose house the narrator’s family finds a temporary refuge

Hảo wife of Professor Lê Văn Hảo

Hiền Ái’s son, an art student

Hường younger sister of Khâm who, along with him and their mother, hid in a shelter in the Citadel

Hy younger sister of Lễ’s wife; wounded during the Tết Offensive

 teacher who once lived in the Citadel, then regrouped to the North with the Communists and came back during the Tết Offensive

Khâm young man from the Citadel whom the narrator and Thái encounter shortly before his death

Khánh young man who brought the news of the narrator’s uncle Đội Hòa’s death

Lài Giáo’s daughter-in-law

 young man who, along with his family, hid in the underground shelter of Phan Bội Châu’s ancestor-worshipping house where the family of the narrator’s elder brother Lễ was also hiding

Lê Văn Hảo Hue University ethnology professor who became the chairman of the Revolutionary Committee in Hue and effectively the mayor of Hue during the Tết Offensive

Mậu Tý (full name Trần Mậu Tý) former friend of Đắc (Nguyễn Đắc Xuân) from the Struggle Movement who is arrested by Đắc

Ngọc (full name Hoàng Phủ Ngọc Tường) teacher and member of the Revolutionary Committee under Professor Lê Văn Hảo (see more on him in Translator’s Introduction)

Nô Răng narrator’s nephew, son of the narrator’s elder brother Lễ

Oanh younger sister of Lê and elder sister of Trúc; along with them hid in the underground shelter in Phan Bội Châu’s ancestor-worshipping house

Phan (Venerable Phan; full name Phan Bội Chậu) prominent twentieth-century Vietnamese nationalist

Phủ (full name Hoàng Phủ Ngọc Phan) younger brother of Hoàng Phủ Ngọc Tường; at the time of the Tết Offensive he was a medical student and, along with his brother, actively participated in the events that transpired in Hue

Quế narrator’s fellow passenger on the way back to Saigon

Tam boy who is perhaps either a neighbor or a relative of Khâm

Thu young North Vietnamese soldier

Thu Hồng female relative of the narrator’s family

Ti Na narrator’s niece, daughter of her elder brother Lễ

Tịnh neighbor’s son who sought shelter with Khâm’s family

Trai narrator’s male cousin who came to visit her and her family upon their return to their house

Trúc narrator’s younger female relative

Trúc younger sister of Lê and Oanh; along with them hid in the underground shelter in Phan Bội Châu’s ancestor-worshipping house

Túc Uncle Giáo’s son who is perhaps Lài’s husband

U acquaintance of Bé and his wife at whose house they stopped for a night

Vạn widow, Thái’s aunt, who initially stayed with Uncle Giáo’s family but then joined the narrator’s family

Võ Thành Minh (Mr. Minh) antiwar activist who opposed the partition of Vietnam and was the guardian of the Phan Bội Châu ancestor-worshipping house at the time

Xếp (Mrs. Xếp) woman who came along with the family of the narrator’s elder brother, Lễ, when his family reunited with the rest of the family

Xuân young female Communist cadre