❮Epub❯ ➢ The Sympathizer ➡ Author Viet Thanh Nguyen – Motyourdrive.co.uk

The Sympathizer chapter 1 The Sympathizer, meaning The Sympathizer, genre The Sympathizer, book cover The Sympathizer, flies The Sympathizer, The Sympathizer abf706302c790 It Is April , 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

10 thoughts on “The Sympathizer

  1. says:

    Being an English major from UCBerkeley and an Artistic Director of Asian American Theater Company for 3 years, I ve run across a lot of Asian American works Though my heart is always with these stories, they ve often lacked style Viet Nguyen has style He s really funny, in a smart unpredictable way And I think he s is going to get a lot of awards and all that when word really gets out Deservedly so because it touches all the big points of Vietnamese American history while never getting bogged down in being a historical lesson I can see backlash by Vietnamese conservatives who want us all to just be the kind of Vietnamese who do our homework and forever hold a grudge against Communism Definitely, not a read for the faint hearted I d say this is the best book on the Vietnamese American experience period And coming from a Vietnamese American who was actually a boat refugee, this is the most authentic yea, it s spy genre, but we re talking how Vietnamese people actually think and survive telling of the Vietnam to America experience I m buying this as a gift for all the cool people in my family.

  2. says:

    Another Update 2nd update I ve been reading through my Kindle book again the last few days of this book looking over my notes taking new ones Our local book club is meeting to talk about The Sympathizer 25 of members from around the Bay Area are attending.with 25 others on the waitlist For people who live in our area this is an important topic Americans and Vietnamese Americans live closely together here The Vietnamese culture thrives in our city Right after I read this book the first time over a year ago before Viet won the Pulitzer Prize I chatted with him.a few times actually He lived here in San Jose for a period of his life and still has relatives in San Jose What stands out for me this second time especially the parts in Los Angles when things looked so awful to me in those grimy apartments yet I couldn t help but laugh at some of the descriptions was that Viet didn t write this book to point any fingers He never blames anyone but we become aware of the conflicts living in the minds of the Vietnamese just being here after the war in Vietnam And nobody gave us that experience clearly than he has in any book I had read before Looking forward to what 24 other people have to say Update exciting news This book just won the Pulitzer Prize for this year VERY EXCITING VERY Cool The year is 1975 at the start As communist tanks are about to roll into Saigon,a General of the Southern Vietnamese army is saying good bye to community workers and friends from the Villa they live.The General and his and compatriots leave to start a new life in Los Angeles, Calif The Captain secretly reports to a communist allied higher up Viet Cong about their group Both secrecy and hierarchy were key to revolution which was why there was always another committee higher up The author s story gives voice depth anguish and understanding of what its like to be Vietnamese in America after the war The narrator, The grizzled captain , brings us into his head so that in time, we, too, feel as if we have one foot in American and one foot in Vietnam Ah, the Amerasian, forever caught between worlds and never knowing where he belongs Imagine if you did not suffer from the confusion you must constantly experience, feeling the constant tugof war inside you and over you, between Orient and Occident East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet , as Kipling so accurately diagnosed There are enchanting growth experiences for our grizzled captain with woman I especially loved how his eyes opened when he was falling in love with Lana A modern thinking Vietnamese woman She believed in gun control, birth control, liberation for homosexuals and civil rights for all she believed in Ghandi, Martin Luthur King Jr., and Thich Nhat Hanh she believed in nonviolence, and world peace, and yoga. Most of all this woman expressed her opinions whereas most Vietnamese woman kept their opinions to themselves until they were married, whereon they never kept their opinions to themselves, she was not hesitant to say what she thought This is a remarkable first novel Its RICH LIVELY Packed filled with stories thrilling thriller funny fierce Its a novel which commands our compassion and respect for Vietnamese Americans.I ve shifted in soul since reading this book It gives me an entire new view of the ending of the Vietnam War Bringing Vietnam and America together has been taking shape in front of my eyes for years but I hadn t examined the courage, suffering, heroism, and collaboration until now My emotional heart is permanently tattooed with love for the Vietnamese Americans I share a city with a large population of Vietnamese Americans I live in San Jose, California We have Vietnamese residents than any other city outside of Vietnam Over 10% of our population is comprised with Vietnamese American residents Our city has Vietnamese language radio shows, TV shows, literature, community strip malls Vietnam Town The San Jose City Council designated Vietnam Town as Little Saigon Most Vietnamese prefer the name Vietnam Town We ve wonderful services run by the Vietnamese nail salons, acupuncture, clothing, furniture, jewelry, accounting, travel, medical, and wonderful restaurants, Pho soup , etc This is a powerful book Hard to believe it has not been written until now Wonderful engaging storytelling by Viet Thanh Nguyen.Thank you Grove Atlantic and Netgalley Powerful Story

  3. says:

    The Darkness of DemocracyWhen Donald Trump blasts Make America Great Again , it may not be obvious that again has a very specific historical reference the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the day the United States lost its first war This event opens The Sympathizer The Donald cannot mention Vietnam it is still too painful and embarrassing a topic in American politics even after than 40 years There was no attack on a US ship in the Tonkin Gulf, there were no dominoes waiting to fall, there were no oppressed freedom loving people to defend These were fabrications The Vietnam War in the US has the same emotional significance as the First World War to Germany during the Weimar Republic It is a reminder of not just defeat, and government deceit but of purported betrayal by one s fellow countrymen hippies, liberals, draft dodgers, inconstant politicians The fact that Trump arranged to have himself exempted from being drafted into the Vietnam War through equivalent fabrication makes him even emotionally dedicated to ensuring his own past disappears into that period when America believed itself not just courageous, and honest but competent, and above all exceptional among nations His recent attack on former Vietnamese prisoner of war John McCain as a loser was not so much personal as a metaphysical rejection of Trump s as well as the country s own history.This novel is acutely prescient not only about the archetypal American Trumpian neurosis, which it satirises so mercilessly, but also about the political effects of that neurosis The conflict in Vietnam has become an historical metaphor for what is happening in American politics as I write this review The route from Weimar to National Socialism in the Germany of the 1930 s, as many have already noted, has much the same scenery as the rise of Trump The similarity is not congenial to many Americans Nguyen s staging of the problem of America in Vietnam is therefore brilliant That he doesn t provide a happy d nouement is simply prudence not lack of imagination Many others who have studied the problem reach a similar impasse.For example, in 1943, two weeks before her death, the young philosopher Simone Weil wrote a short essay On the Abolition of All Political Parties In it she distinguishes the meaning and practice of political parties in continental Europe and the Anglo Saxon world of America and Britain Both types involve the passionate espousal of a point of view on the shape and content of the general good Weil likes neither type the British because, although it dissipates passions, the result is compromise which everyone can accept but no one really wants The continental, because it enflames passions to the point where Jacobin ferocity puts one party in power and all the others in jail Frustration with the former naturally leads to the latter The slide from reason to controllable passion to Gnostic dictatorship in which each party accuses the other, not only of error but of the vile civil evil of treason is, she implies, inevitable This she foresees is the real threat of and to democracy the corruption of the souls and consciences of those who participate in party politics It is difficult not to perceive in the recently held Republican National Convention precisely this slide from rational perception of one s personal interests to the ultimate demonisation of the other side as perverts, traitors and liars Hillary for Prison , Hillary the Traitor of Benghazi.The Sympathizer is in large part about Weil s inevitable slide into the abyss of party politics The locus is not Cleveland although much of the book takes place in America and the protagonist is not American but significantly European Asian Nevertheless the not so hidden force of the narrative is American culture and American military and political power in the character of the mysterious Claude One clue to the metaphorical intent of the book is that Claude and his intellectual avatar Hedd is apparently the only proper name in the book The other characters are either roles the Captain, the General, the Auteur, the Parisian aunt, the crapulent major or veiled descriptors in languages other than English Man, Bon, Sofia Mori What the named character of Claude promotes is simply the creation and the continuing passionate hatred and conflict between the two historical factions of Vietnamese before during and after the war He plots and meddles and tortures and encourages strife endlessly, not for any obvious ideology or advantage but just because he can Claude is America and what America does not just to others but to itself Not until halfway through the book, despite several hints, does it become apparent that it is actually about representative democracy not Vietnam Not to own the means of production can lead to premature death, but not to own the means of representation is also a kind of death muses the spy protagonist who is having a rather different kind of political awakening than he anticipated during his life in the West The real question is how anyone can be politically represented Neither liberal democracy nor the dictatorship of the proletariat makes a satisfactory solution to the problem All politics fail from time to time Perhaps not inevitably as Weil feared, but certainly when it comes under control by the Claudes of the world.Donald Trump is the potentially fatal flaw in American representative democracy Clearly Nguyen knew nothing of Trump s prospective rise to political fame as he wrote But he didn t need to Trump is a type, the dark side of America that lurks constantly in wait to mug the entire country, and as much of the rest of the world that is within reach It is this dark side which is so obvious to non Americans, especially non European non Americans And it is this side which Nguyen describes with such horrible accuracy A timely reminder therefore of the real danger we face.

  4. says:

    This is without a doubt an important story to tellthousands of refugees wailed as if attending a funeral, the burial of their nation, dead too soon, as so many were, at a tender twenty one years of age The writing is as good as I found in The Refugees but I wasn t immediately drawn in and had a difficult time trying to understand what was happening during the evacuation, but I m guessing that it reflects the reality of what it must have been like Our narrator, the Captain , a double agent, introduces the reader to his dual allegiance when he says I am simply able to see any issue from both sides I flatter myself that this is a talent I was reminded of the mixed feelings that people had about this war I was very moved by some of the scenes The old woman and others angry and grieving throwing their shoes Also heartbreaking was how the Captain s friend Bon loses his wife and child In addition to the chaos of the evacuation scene the gut wrenching torture scenes towards the end stands out in my mind as well.The essay and an interview at the end of the book were also enlightening and so very relevant for the issues at hand today and gave me a better understanding of the novel In the essay , the author says The tendency to separate war stories from immigrant stories means that most Americans don t understand how many of the immigrants and refugees in the United States have fled from wars many of which this country has had a hand in But he doesn t put the full blame there In the interview, he says The Vietnamese are at least partially responsible for what they did to themselves I didn t want to put the blame squarely on the Americans or the French, although that blame is there I wanted this to be ver specifically a moment of Vietnamese on Vietnamese confrontation and responsibility because, again, this is in part how we claim our subjectivity we aren t just victims but victimizers as well This is a part of our history that we all find very hard to confront These comments give the novel some perspective and I wish I had read them first The wonderful writing I found in The Refugees prompted me to read this book If that wasn t reason enough, this was a buddy read with two of my very good Goodreads friends, Diane and Esil However, I have very mixed feelings about the book There were too few moments when I felt an emotional connection to the Captain and at times it was a struggle to continue reading I wish I could articulate it in a better way, but there you have it 3 stars and 3.5 stars after reading the essay and interview, but these were not the novel, so it remains 3 stars It won the Pulitzer Prize and there are so many others who have rated it 5 stars, but it just didn t get to me as much as The Refugees which I rated 5 stars Thanks , Diane and Esil Let s do this again sometime.

  5. says:

    Pulitzer Prize winner and I don t always agree, and such is the case here A very worthy book, a book with so many truisms, such as this one booted hard by the irony of how revolution fought for independence and freedom could make those things worth less than nothing The tone is ironic, often satirical but it gets to be too much, wearing on me as I was reading Almost became a chore to shift through some of this to get to the parts that meant something to me I little remember the Vietnam War, was very young but do remember the scenes on TV and the protests all over the United States So in this way the book did succeed by showing me many of the things I didn t know There are brilliant phrases, insights but in between were things I just wasn t interested in, that in a way felt like it was taking away from the story Though in retrospect I can see where it all ties together, what it means, but while reading it just felt frustrating There is one event I found shocking, interesting, comes near the end of the book but again I felt this was overplayed, went on too long So a very mixed read for me, intellectually I can see why it won, but emotionally I wasn t sold The absurdities of war and we keep going round and round, never learning a thing, or so it seems.Buddy read with Angela and Esil, which definitely made this easier to bear, would probably never had finished if it hadn t been for them.

  6. says:

    GOODBYE VIETNAM Sono una spia, un dormiente, un fantasma, un uomo con due facce E un uomo con due menti diverse, anche se questo probabilmente non stupir nessuno I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds.E per essere una buona spia la prima regola non dire bugie, ma verit che possono significare come minimo due cose risultare illeggibile essere un uomo sincero che crede in tutto quello che dice anche quando mente vero, gli US hanno fatto della guerra del Vietnam un esclusiva, e noi occidentali di pari passo, tutti quanti insieme consideriamo che i vietnamiti siano stati solo comparse sfiorate marginalmente da un evento bellico che complessivamente durato due decenni la pi lunga guerra americana vero, il cinema ha fatto anche di peggio, i ruoli per i vietnamiti sono sempre stati meno che una comparsata, e sono stati sempre ingaggiati attori asiatici, ma non necessariamente vietnamiti tanto si assomigliano tutti vero, debuttare con un romanzo di genere un aiuto perch ci sono canoni e regole da rispettare, il che in qualche modo agevola il compito e il percorso vero, questo esordio narrativo molto debitore di Graham Greene e di Orwell il tono satirico , come anche, ma pi che di Conrad e Le Carr e come dice lo stesso Nguyen, si vede quanto stato importante l approccio sinceramente umanista di Graham Greene dal fatto che un personaggio che commette qualcosa di brutto non diventa disumano, ma pi profondamente umano vero che la voce di Nguyen si presenta come una nuova prospettiva, un nuovo punto di vista, interno sia a quello occidentale, finora unico trionfatore, che a quello orientale, fin qui emarginato e taciuto vero, questo un gran bel romanzo, un autentico godimento.E poi altro, di pi , e oltre scritto intingendo la penna nel carbone, facendo ampio ricorso al black humour scritto con intelligenza e conoscenza Anche se a volte Nguyen eccede, carica troppo, sbava, per me scusato, si tratta d esordio, imparer a controllarsi meglio col tempo ha gi annunciato che scriver il seguito.Aprile il pi crudele dei mesi, confonde memoria e desiderio, come canta Eliot, e questo romanzo inizia proprio in aprile, quello del 1975, quando Saigon fu liberata O secondo un altra versione evacuata O seconda una terza lettura dei fatti fu occupata, segnandone la caduta.Il protagonista un uomo con due facce e due menti, il suo dualismo nasce in Vietnam e si sviluppa negli anni americani, l universit e poi il lavoro ma intrinseco sin dalla sua nascita, in quanto la mamma, tredicenne, era vietnamita, il padre, invece, occidentale, in quanto sacerdote cattolico francese.In Il simpatizzante ci sono momenti memorabili, come la scena del percorso verso l aeroporto di Saigon, quindi, verso la fuga, e la salvezza, attraverso strade deserte cosparse di divise militari abbandonate da chi cerca di non farsi riconoscere dai vietcong che stanno per entrare in citt , che per non sono abbandonate ma lasciate sui marciapiedi ripiegate con cura, come l ordine e il decoro vietnamita impongono.Indimenticabile anche la collaborazione del protagonista, che rimane sempre senza nome, in veste di interprete e consulente a un film di Hollywood sulla guerra in Vietnam girato nelle Filippine, che forse fonde un po tutte le pellicole dell epoca, ma ricorda molto da vicino in particolare Apocalypse Now, come il regista, chiamato il Grande Autore, ricorda terribilmente Francis Ford Coppola.E poi il lungo finale, il ritorno a casa , cento pagine nelle quali Nguyen sembra dire addio ai suoi modelli ispiratori Greene, Orwell, Conrad, Le Carr , e sembra rivolgersi pi ad Abu Ghraib, a Zero Dark Thirty, a Jack Bauer, a Kafka perfino, o a Genet Amo il profumo del napalm la mattina, odora di vittoria dice il comandante Kilgore Robert Duvall Tutte le guerre sono combattute due volte la prima volta sul campo di battaglia, poi nella memoria, dice il Simpatizzante.

  7. says:

    Forty years ago this month, after a long, deadly release of flatulence from American politicians, the United States evacuated its personnel from Saigon in an operation appropriately code named Frequent Wind Whether you were alive then or not, the images of those panicked Vietnamese crushing the U.S Embassy are tattooed on our collective consciousness.In the opening pages of Viet Thanh Nguyen s extraordinary first novel, The Sympathizer, that terror feels so real that you ll mistake your beating heart for helicopter blades thumping the air Nguyen brings us right inside the barbed wire encircled home of a South Vietnamese general just waking from his faith in American resilience Thrashing all around him, officers and cronies are bargaining for survival Who will get out Who will To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post http www.washingtonpost.com enterta

  8. says:

    I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds With these words Viet Thanh Nguyen decides to start the novel and these two sentences were enough to get me hooked They managed to intrigue me, to want to know and set the basis for what will prove to be one of the main theme, the interior conflict of the narrator The Symphatizer is a book about the Vietnam War and its aftermath The book is about loyalty, identity and the difficulty to adjust to a new culture and reality It written from the point of view of the Vietnamese and does not always put the Americans in a positive light This novel is a perfect companion to the Quiet American by Graham Green a masterpiece , the only other book about the Vietnam war that I read Actually, the Quiet American is mentioned a couple of times in the Symphatizer One theme that I found in both books is about the innocent and idealized intentions with which the Americans entered the Vietnam War and their failure to admit ant wrongdoing They believe in a universe of divine justice where the human race is guilty of sin, but they also believe in a secular justice where human beings are presumed innocent You can t have both You know how Americans deal with it They pretend they are eternally innocent no matter how many times they lose their innocence The problem is that those who insist on their innocence believe anything they do is just At least we who believe in our own guilt know what dark things we can do A similar idea I selected for my review of the Quiet American Innocence is a kind of insanity Innocence always calls mutely for protection when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm The novel kept me on the edge of the seat for the first 100 pages or so when the fall of Saigon is described and thorough the escape to USA of the main characters When the setting moves to Los Angeles the pace slows down and my interest begins to gradually fall culminating with the making of the movie in Thailand Those chapters were excruciatingly slow and the smart writing barely managed to make the experience bearable My interest picked up after that and the last 20% of the book were as good as the beginning I do not want to say too much about that except that it was the most disturbing part of the novel The book is cleverly written, I loved the author s way with words I did not expect to find humor among these pages, even less one similar to Vonnegut s a realization I had while reading another review I noticed a particularity of the writing style that I want to share with you The author uses a lot of sexual metaphors when describing war scenes Here are two examples stubby grenades resembling short, metallic dildos and a parachute flare sputtering into spermating existence I wonder what the meaning behind them is Is it because war, as sex is about power, control, performance and status Is it because the two acts dehumanize us to some extent In the end I also want to let you all know that I will never look at a squid the same way ever again The ones that read the novel know why.

  9. says:

    So clever and witty but also gripping.

  10. says:

    My mother was native, my father was foreign, and strangers and acquaintances had enjoyed reminding me of this ever since my childhood, spitting on me and calling me bastard, although sometimes, for variety, they called me bastard before they spit on me.I didn t realize how much I ve gotten used to not needing to pay attention to the books I read Reading this one was as much a chore as it was a joy Words, sentences, entire paragraphs that required, no demanded I pay heed Here was inexplicably lovely prose about ugly subject matter prostitution, war, and war s aftermath.Now am I daring to accuse American strategic planners of deliberately eradicating peasant villages in order to smoke out the girls who would have little choice but to sexually service the same boys who bombed, shelled, strafed, torched, pillaged, or merely forcibly evacuated said villages I am merely noting that the creation of native prostitutes to service foreign privates is an inevitable outcome of a war of occupation, one of those nasty little side effects of defending freedom that all the wives, sisters, girlfriends, mothers, pastors, and politicians in Smallville, USA, pretend to ignore behind waxed and buffed walls of teeth as they welcome their soldiers home, ready to treat any unmentionable afflictions with the penicillin of American goodness.It rarely takes me over two weeks to finish a book, but this one had to be poured over, and savored.What s crazy is living when there s no reason to live, he said What am I living for A life in our apartment That s not a home It s a jail cell without bars All of us we re all in jail cells without bars We re not men any Not after the Americans fucked us twice and made our wives and kids watch First the Americans said we ll save your yellow skins Just do what we say Fight our way, take our money, give us your women, then you ll be free Things didn t work out that way, did they Then after fucking us, they rescued us They just didn t tell us they d cut off our balls and cut out our tongues along the way But you know what If we were real men, we wouldn t have let them do that.Highly recommended a tough, but worthwhile read.The war s over, Ms Mori said Don t they know that I wanted to say something profound as I stood up to say goodnight I wanted to impress Ms Mori with the intellect she could never have again Wars never die, I said They just go to sleep.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *