The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as seven other awards, The Sympathizer is the breakthrough novel of 2016. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and...Read More
The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as seven other awards, The Sympathizer is the breakthrough novel of 2016. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Saul Bellow, The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal.
The narrator, a communist double agent, is a "man of two minds," a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam.
The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.
Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. He is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the academic books Race and Resistance and Nothing Ever Dies. He is a cultural critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times and teaches English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He lives in Los Angeles.
"A layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a 'man of two minds'-and two countries, Vietnam and the United States." - Pulitzer Prize Citation
"[A] remarkable debut novel . . . [Nguyen] brings a distinctive perspective to the war and its aftermath. His book fills a void in the literature, giving voice to the previously voiceless . . . The nameless protagonist-narrator, a memorable character despite his anonymity, is an Americanized Vietnamese with a divided heart and mind. Nguyen's skill in portraying this sort of ambivalent personality compares favorably with masters like Conrad, Greene, and le Carré. . . . Both thriller and social satire. . . . In its final chapters, The Sympathizer becomes an absurdist tour de force that might have been written by a Kafka or Genet." - Philip Caputo, New York Times Book Review
"This is more than a fresh perspective on a familiar subject. [ The Sympathizer] is intelligent, relentlessly paced and savagely funny . . . The voice of the double-agent narrator, caustic yet disarmingly honest, etches itself on the memory." - Wall Street Journal
"Nguyen doesn't shy away from how traumatic the Vietnam War was for everyone involved. Nor does he pass judgment about where his narrator's loyalties should lie. Most war stories are clear about which side you should root for-- The Sympathizer doesn't let the reader off the hook so easily . . . Despite how dark it is, The Sympathizer is still a fast-paced, entertaining read . . . a much-needed Vietnamese perspective on the war." - Bill Gates
"Extraordinary . . . Surely a new classic of war fiction. . . . [Nguyen] has wrapped a cerebral thriller around a desperate expat story that confronts the existential dilemmas of our age. . . . Laced with insight on the ways nonwhite people are rendered invisible in the propaganda that passes for our pop culture. . . . I haven't read anything since Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four that illustrates so palpably how a patient tyrant, unmoored from all humane constraint, can reduce a man's mind to liquid." - Washington Post
"The great achievement of The Sympathizer is that it gives the Vietnamese a voice and demands that we pay attention. Until now, it's been largely a one-sided conversation--or at least that's how it seems in American popular culture . . . We've never had a story quite like this one before. . . . [Nguyen] has a great deal to say and a knowing, playful, deeply intelligent voice . . . There are so many passages to admire. Mr. Nguyen is a master of the telling ironic phrase and the biting detail, and the book pulses with Catch-22-style absurdities." - New York Times