Friday, September 16, 2016

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer is a book which examines the post-Vietnam War era from the perspective of the Vietnamese, both the victors and the vanquished. The narrator, The Captain, is a spy for the North, a mole serving as a trusted aid to a South Vietnamese general. He is excellent in his role. Neither South Vietnamese officers nor American advisors suspect him to be a spy. At the behest of his North Vietnamese handlers, he accompanies the general to the United States after the fall of Saigon. This was necessary because Vietnamese army officers and certain Americans hoped to retake Vietnam by staging an armed invasion through Laos. The Captain has an astute eye when judging everything American. He sees corruption and the shallowness of American culture. But when he returns to a united Vietnam, he discovers that the new country is not the country he had expected.

Vietnamese-born and American-educated, Viet Thanh Nguyen's master of the English language and knowledge of American culture make this book a pleasure to read.