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The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Literary fiction

The Sympathizer

by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Quick take

A clever account of a Viet Cong spy, who escapes Saigon for a complicated double life in the United States.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_International

    International

  • Illustrated icon, Literary

    Literary

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Acclaim

    Critically acclaimed

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Buzzy

    Buzzy

Synopsis

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. 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.

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273 ratings
  • 48% Love
  • 38% Like
  • 13% Dislike
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