Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer is featured on Barbara’s Picks for the Library Journal.
After a long, long war, April 1975 saw the fall of Saigon—or its liberation, if you take the North Vietnamese perspective. For the narrator of this big, bold debut, it’s both; he’s a Communist sympathizer working as a double agent in the role of trusted captain to a South Vietnamese general while sustaining intense loyalty for friends devoted to the South’s cause. His next assignment: travel with the refugees (including the general) who flee Vietnam for America and report back to the new Vietnamese government on their activities. An associate professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America, Nguyen takes risks, joggling our understanding and opening old wounds to clarify important history.
Barbara Hoffert is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.