Viet Thanh Nguyen at the Salt Lake City Public Library
Mar 9, 2017, 12:00 pm
The Hivemind Book Club, Utah Humanities, and The City Library present a book discussion with Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen. Bring your questions about his acclaimed book The Sympathizer! The discussion will be in Conference Rooms A & B on the library's lower level.
The Sympathizer begins in April 1975, as Saigon is about to fall to communist invasion. Soon enough it does, and the war is over. Or is it? Black comedy, historical novel, and literary thriller, The Sympathizer follows a nameless spy who has infiltrated the South Vietnamese army and flees with its remnants to America. His mission: report on their efforts to continue their lost war. As the aide to a general who refuses to admit defeat, he observes the struggles of the Vietnamese refugees to survive in a melancholic Los Angeles. Among them, the general believes, are communist agents. So our spy’s double life continues, hunting communists while helping the general organize a covert army. Their mission: to invade Vietnam and take it back.
Neither America nor a double life is new to our narrator. He is Eurasian, his father a French priest, his mother Vietnamese. He has been a double agent since his teenage years, and in his college years, he studied in California, the better to learn American culture. His war is a psychological one, but as he slowly realizes, much of that war is fought within himself, a man in between races and countries.
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association. His other books are Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction) and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. His next book is a short story collection, The Refugees, forthcoming in February 2017 from Grove Press.
This event is made possible with support from Hivemind Book Club, Guest Writers Series, Utah Humanities, and The City Library.
Salt Lake City Public Library
210 E 400 S
Salt Lake City , UT 84111-2804