The Sympathizer

Front Cover
Grove Press, Apr 12, 2016 - Fiction - 384 pages
One of 2015’s most highly acclaimed debuts, "The Sympathizer" is a Vietnam War novel unlike any other. The narrator, one of the most arresting of recent fiction, is a man of two minds and divided loyalties, a half-French half-Vietnamese communist sleeper agent living in America after the end of the war. 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. But, unbeknownst to the general, this captain is an undercover operative for the communists, who instruct him to add his own name to the list and accompany the general to America. As the general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, the captain continues to observe the group, sending coded letters to an old friend who is now a higher-up within the communist administration. Under suspicion, the captain is forced to contemplate terrible acts in order to remain undetected. And when he falls in love, he finds that his lofty ideals clash violently with his loyalties to the people close to him, a contradiction that may prove unresolvable.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
503
4 stars
543
3 stars
243
2 stars
89
1 star
28

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - arubabookwoman - LibraryThing

This novel is narrated in the form of a confession by a captain in the former South Vietnamese Army, an aide to a General in the former secret police. As he tells us in the opening sentence, "I am a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - albertgoldfain - LibraryThing

A sweeping (but not disorienting) story that shows the nuance and complexity in the already complex history of the Vietnam war. There is plenty of humor, philosophy, and suspense here also. Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2016)

Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. He is the author ofThe Committed, which continues the story ofThe Sympathizer, awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, alongside seven other prizes. He is also the author of the short story collectionThe Refugees; the nonfiction bookNothing Ever Dies, a finalist for the National Book Award; and is the editor of an anthology of refugee writing,The Displaced. He is the Aerol Arnold Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations. He lives in Los Angeles.

Bibliographic information