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The Sympathizer: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Complex in both style and content, Nguyen’s The Sympathizer offers an original and wholly rewarding reading experience. Our narrator chronicles Saigon’s fall and the political and personal fallout that ensues. A U.S.-educated Viet Cong mole, he undermines the country that has molded him to serve the country of his birth. As his external life collapses so too does his internal, evoking a heartbreaking, darkly comic view of what nationalism truly means.

— Dillon

This impeccably written book chronicles a man pinned between two worlds. Born in Vietnam and educated in the US, the main character finds himself an outsider in both cultures. Told from his prison cell, the story starts in the past, builds to the present, and goes beyond, along the way exploring the boundaries of friendship, patriotism, and the nature of humanity itself.

— Jade

April 2015 Indie Next List

“The Sympathizer is a fascinating and highly original novel about the Vietnam War and its aftermath. The unnamed narrator, a South Vietnamese captain, works for the Americans while spying for the Viet Cong. After the evacuation of Saigon, he follows an American general to the U.S. and finds himself torn between two worlds: his new life in the West among his fellow political refugees and his sympathies for the Communists back home. Nguyen injects much dark humor into this tragic story, and the narrator's voice is both subversive and unforgettable. The Sympathizer will be one of the most talked-about novels of the year.”
— Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI


The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as seven other awards, The Sympathizer is the breakthrough novel of the year. 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.

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.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802123459
ISBN-10: 0802123457
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Pages: 384
Language: English
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Created At: 9/28/2014 02:03pm
Last Updated At: 2/20/2019 06:22am