The Nam

Fiona Banner


Book, 27.9 x 20.9 cm, 1000 p, language: English, publisher: London : Frith Street Books, ISBN: 0951495313.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2025/642).

Literary synopsis

The Nam has been described as unreadable. The Nam is a 1000 page, all text, flick book. It is a compilation of total descriptions of six well known Vietnam films: Full Metal Jacket, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now!, Born on the Fourth of July, Hamburger Hill and Platoon. The films apparently never begin or end, but are described in their entirety, spliced together to make a gutting 11-hour supermovie. Banner describes the films as if she is there, not influencing the plot, but always on set running alongside the action. The Nam is a constantly present, seamless account of the films. You might say that this book is the ultimate unedited text, a world in which nothing is prioritised, but everything. As you begin to know, you only see what you see. ' at a stretch, Banner's simple, clear prose is hypnotic, and as exhausting as sitting through a Vietnam all-nighter. The text cascades in front of our eyes, melding and merging, and we read Banner's commentary as she's watching...'

- Adrian Searle, Visual Arts, The Guardian, 22 April 1997.

Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice

The novel is central Fiona Banner’s practice. In 1997 she founded The Vanity Press, through which she publishes her own works including The Nam (1997), All The World's Fighter Planes (2004 / 2006), The Bastard Word (2007) and ISBN 978-1-907118-99-9 (2010).

Novel's website

Authorship: Artist Author.

Creative Strategy: Novel Art Object, Rewriting Film.

Genre: Drama.

Publishing: Public Institution, Publishing House, Self-Publishing.

Theme: War.

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