Title: The Sympathizer
Author: Viet Thanh Nguyen
Dates: 10/11/16 – 11/14/16
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2016 Nguyen is also the recipient of many other awards including the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Based upon the awesomeness of the Vietnam War Nguyen takes us into the depths of human and inhuman existence. While this award winning author was born in Viet Nam he grew up in Los Angeles, California and had to decide whether to embrace his Asian roots or his adopted country. He chose the US. Each sentence is one you’ve never read before. There is no need to punctuate dialogue because the words are so riveting. Some characters have names – Man, Bon, Claude and Violet – others are the crapulent major, the Auteur, the Congressman, the baby faced guard and others. Our unnamed protagonist is a double agent, and you’ll forget you’re reading fiction from the fall of Saigon to the chilling nightmare of the courageous boat people.
Some are calling this novel “extraordinary,” “a page-turner ...”, “an optic tilt about Vietnam and what America did there as profound as Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Toni Morrison’s Beloved were to the legacy of racism and slavery.”