[Pdf] The Sympathizer: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (English Edition) Author Viet Thanh Nguyen – Andy-palmer.co.uk


The Sympathizer: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (English Edition) WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTIONWINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION A fierce novel written in a refreshingly high style and charged with intelligent rage Financial TimesIt 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 todayA bold, artful and globally minded reimagining of the Vietnam war The Sympathizer is an excellent literary novel, and one that ends, with unsettling present day resonance, in a refugee boat where opposing ideas about intentions, actions and their consequences take stark and resilient human form the GuardianBeautifully written and meaty Claire Messud A remarkable debut novel In its final chapters, The Sympathizer becomes an absurdist tour de force that might have been written by a Kafka or Genet New York TimesThis debut is a page turner read everybody will finish that makes you reconsider the Vietnam War Nguyens darkly comic novel offers a point of view about American culture that weve rarely seen Oprahs Book Club Suggestions


9 thoughts on “The Sympathizer: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (English Edition)

  1. says:

    Will I ever finish this It s doubtful Every now and then I go back to it and read a few chapters It s too dense Or maybe I am Anyway, I haven t finished but in time I will.


  2. says:

    A veces se hace un poco largo, pero merece la pena seguir leyendo


  3. says:

    Big fiction is back again Excellent book exploring multi faceted Viatnamese army members and their new conditions relocated back in Guam and the USA.


  4. says:

    Bread pzya no l gico Charaerisation terisation


  5. says:

    A story of one man s navigation and survival through impossible circumstances of war and starvation Part history, part psychological thriller Deals with human cruelty, memory and resilience.


  6. says:

    I didn t have a great experience with this book It s oddly disjointed with some genuinely inelegant phrasing There s a completely out of place homage to Portnoy s Complaint where our hero takes his pleasure from a squid and a brace of effectively described political assassinations The last 20% of the book goes completely doolally with an extended torture and Communist re education scenario.None of it comes together very well None of the women are written with anything but contempt the older no strings nympho, the General s hag wife, the manic dream pixie daughter whom our narrator gleefully buggers after his first homicide and the rape victim It s all fairly retrograde.


  7. says:

    WARNING This review may look like a spoiler, but this bare outline of the story does not reveal the long novel s sometimes self indulgent and overly leisurely and digressive richness the picture of Vietnam at war the attitude of the Vietnamese refugees in the United States towards the Americans, and the American attitudes towards the Vietnamese communist and anti communist beliefs the elaborate back stories of all the characters There is humour, some of it hilarious and lubricious there is cynicism there are scathing and very long descriptions of Hollywood s representations of the Vietnam War, clearly inspired by the film Apocalypse Now there are the horrors of war and of torture there are the elements of a thriller, and the book is full of incidents and reflections There is a modish and irritating absence of speech marks but that it not the main reason why I found some passages quite obscure The most obscure of all for me were the brutal scenes at the end of the book what happened to the narrator s mind when he was being tortured to confess what his torturers expected him to confess, but which he was unable to recall Since this is the climax of the book, my inability to understand it is the major reason for the low rating I have given to the book as a whole.IF YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT SPOILERS, STOP READING THE REST OF THE REVIEW.The novel begins with the flight out of Saigon as the Viet Cong close in on the city in April 1975.The unnamed narrator I will call him Thanh in this review darts backwards and forwards in his reminiscences At the beginning there is a hint to be fleshed out much later that most of the book is actually a written confession he is making, in prison, to a Viet Cong Commandant It is hard to believe that such a confession should be so long said to be 295 pages long and so elaborate and sophisticated in style Thanh is the illegitimate son of a Vietnamese woman and a French priest, and he is very sensitive about being called a bastard It gives him a split personality, and he tells us at the beginning that he had been a double agent for many years, though he never tells us what his reasons were He had been attached to the staff of a Vietnamese General who had worked closely with a CIA officer called Claude Thanh had taken part in interrogations of Viet Cong prisoners At the same time Tanh had worked with Man, a communist and an old school friend He is equally friendly with another old schoolmate, Bon, who was fervently anti Communist.Thanh organized, with bribes, the flight on a cargo plane of the General and 91 others including Bon from Saigon airport The Communists are bombarding the airport but, after horrendous scenes, they are airborne and eventually arrive in California As a younger man, Thanh had studied at the University of Los Angeles, and a former professor of his got him appointed to a clerical position there He shared an apartment with Bon, who was employed as a part time janitor by a local church.He sent secret messages to Man, reporting on unhappy time the Vietnamese exiles had in the United States Throughout, the descriptions of this community, now mostly in the humblest of jobs and saturated with nostalgia for Saigon, are very extensive When the General, reduced to running a liquor store, discovered how, it is not clear that there was a spy among the former soldiers in the refugee community, Thanh, in a panic, suggests it could be a major on the General s staff He and Bon are then ordered by the General and by Claude to eliminate him Thanh feels bad about killing an innocent man, but he aids Bon to do the deed And the dead major will, ghostlike, haunt his thoughts thereafter.There is a long interlude in the Philippines the General had got Thanh to be the consultant to a Hollywood director who was making a propaganda film there about the Vietnam War Thanh was nearly killed in a scene right at the end of the film.He returned to the United States, where he General was training a score of veterans to join a camp in Thailand of Vietnamese veterans who were preparing to liberate Vietnam Thanh passed on that knowledge to his communist contacts One of those who would go to that camp was Bon Thanh wanted to protect him, and asked the General for permission to go as well The permission was granted at a price Sonny, a left wing Vietnamese journalist who had also been a college friend in America with Thanh, had found out about the training and had published a piece about it The General now hinted to Thanh that something should be done about Sonny if Thanh were to be allowed to go Encouraged by Bon, Thanh kills Sonny another ghost to haunt him.Two days later, he and Bon flew to Bangkok and then proceeded to the camp on the border of Thailand and Laos On their first reconnaissance patrol, they ran into an ambush Most of the patrol were killed, but Thanh and Bon were taken prisoner.There is a fifth of the book to come So far the story has been easy to follow but this last fifth is the most difficult part, and, as I said in the first paragraph of this review, I found much of it maddeningly obscure.Thanh has to write for the Commandant of the prison a confession which is to be part of his re education The Commandant is never satisfied with his account though Thanh is a communist, the confession is too western, with no appreciation of the writings of Ho Chi Minh and Mao Tse Tung What he had done while working with the General also counted against him.The remote Commissar in charge of the prison camp is particularly interested in Thanh s case we will find out why There are horrible scenes of mental and gruesome memories of physical torture, interspersed with long, hard to believe reflections and I repeat that I found these scenes in any case hard to make sense of Clearly the judges who awarded this book the Pulitzer Prize will not have found it so difficult or so obscure.


  8. says:

    As a new Vietnamese immigrant, this book takes my breath away It touches on every corner of the mind of a banana a person with both Asian Western ideologies It addresses Asian race relations in the Western world, the moral ambiguity on both sides of the Vietnam War, the conflicts within the protagonist, the comical cycle of revolutions, the struggles of immigrants, all sprinkled with fun guides on how to pick up girls at bars The Vietnamese culture references are well explained, so don t hesitate to pick this book up even if you can t point out Vietnam on a map.


  9. says:

    A fictional account of the conflict from a Vietnamese perspective was an immediate hook for me but alas, it didn t quite pull it off The narrative was well crafted and prosaic, and there were some very engaging recounts of events However, some parts of the book were over written with too much detail and focus on less interesting content It almost worked for me but became a bit too self indulgent.


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