The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer

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Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2016

A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties.

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong.

The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781543618020
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 06/13/2017
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 328,145
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

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.

Read an Excerpt

I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds. I am not some misunderstood mutant from a comic book or a horror movie, although some have treated me as such. I am simply able to see any issue from both sides. Sometimes I flatter myself that this is a talent, and although it is admittedly one of a minor nature, it is perhaps also the sole talent I possess. At other times, when I reflect on how I cannot help but observe the world in such a fashion, I wonder if what I have should even be called talent. After all, a talent is something you use, not something that uses you. The talent you cannot not use, the talent that possesses you—that is a hazard, I must confess. But in the month when this confession begins, my way of seeing the world still seemed more of a virtue than a danger, which is how some dangers first appear.

The month in question was April, the cruelest month. It was the month in which a war that had run on for a very long time would lose its limbs, as is the way of wars. It was a month that meant everything to all the people in our small part of the world and nothing to most people in the rest of the world. It was a month that was both an end of a war and the beginning of . . . well, “peace” is not the right word, is it, my dear commandant?

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The Sympathizer 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a kid during thia war, susceptible to history being written on TV and magazines, this helped me see it in more human terms
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WOW.  I am about 3/4 through the book and had to make sure I posted a 5 star rating right away. The language is so poetic, and plot interesting - love that it is Vietnamese perspective. HIGHLY recommend this book, worth every penny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the view of a soldier in Pharaoh's Army. Clean and deeper than a story from Uncle Ho. The dichotomy of a hearts struggle against itself to right what is not wrong but establish the better vision of events. Seeing through multiple lens, like a fly, a new scenario crashes into your head. Thank you..?
HCE2 More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book a great deal. Some of the prose is really beautiful in a dark fashion. Written from the point of view of an officer in the South Vietnamese army who is also an agent for the North. I would recommend it!
Davids3 More than 1 year ago
Sympathizer has an unbelievable stupid ending after a rather brilliant lead up to that conclusion. hard to believe it was published unless the editors quit early , which is what the author should have done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a fresh take on the refugee experience and a time capsule of 70s America. Must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some of the book really wasnt opening up to me, and there was lots of typos. I liked this book but this guys other bookss dont make anysence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, impressive vocabulary. Very colorful writing. Really good. -from an avid reader