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The Sympathizer
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. 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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review
Tiltedwhirled
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
Pickpick

The intricate plot and form of the novel (it is written as if the main character is giving his confession) make for interesting and gut wrenching reading

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Emilymdxn
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Pickpick

So deserving of the Pulitzer. I‘d never read anything from this perspective on the Vietnam War before. It pulled apart a lot of the mythology around Vietnam (in the west at least) and made me feel like I was looking at it for the first time. Very difficult to read at times, but it wouldn‘t have been as meaningful if it wasn‘t and I‘m glad it made me so uncomfortable.

A particularly timely and painful book for the day Boris Johnson takes office.

BarbaraBB I feel you. 💔 4w
80 likes7 stack adds1 comment
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Emilymdxn
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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I had to take my lunch break right after hearing the news about Boris Johnson to go and try to cope outside the office. It‘s not a surprise, but that doesn‘t make it less bad.

Trying to take solace in the two books I‘m reading and the play I‘m using at work - all of which would be coincidentally great ones for Boris to try learning from. I feel quite numb right now, but all there is to do is get comfort and energy where I can and keep going

Amiable Sending love, hugs and wishes for strength from here in the U.S. We know how you feel. 😖😕 4w
Emilymdxn @Amiable we watched Trump for two years and then the country went ‘let‘s get us one of those‘. Same haircut and everything 🤦‍♀️ 4w
Amiable @Emilymdxn I want to laugh, but it‘s all too horrible. (You aren‘t wrong, though —even about the haircut! 😬) 4w
See All 12 Comments
Connster He‘s an utterly deplorable man. I can‘t stand him! This is a definite low for us ☹️ 4w
Megabooks Totally agree with @Amiable ! A big ol‘ WTF! 4w
batsy Clown fascism seems to be the era we've entered into and it's mighty depressing. 4w
TrishB 😥 it‘s so depressing. 4w
TrishB @batsy so well put. 4w
MicheleinPhilly ❤️❤️❤️ 4w
Amiable @batsy Clown fascism — you nailed that on the head 4w
AlaMich If there‘s any silver lining to your clown versus our clown, it‘s that Boris seems to have about 150 IQ points on Donny. It ain‘t much, I know. 😢 4w
kathedron Is there nothing will stop these horror-clowns prevailing?! (You want power and influence? Forget about competence. Forget about human decency. What's rewarded is larger than life celebrity with poor impulse control. Ugh! 😫) 4w
56 likes1 stack add12 comments
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erzascarletbookgasm
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Blurb says ‘It‘s a debut from Professor Viet Thanh Nguyen, told through the recollections of an un-named communist spy, who doubles as a trusted lieutenant to a South Vietnamese General..it casts a wide net and a new, Vietnamese perspective over a war that has been largely mythologised and romanticised in American storytelling.‘
I may read this for #Booked2019 🤔

#WanderingJune #goodnightsaigon

KathyWheeler I really liked this book. 2mo
Cinfhen I think this won the Pulitzer a few years ago!! I own it but haven‘t read it yet 2mo
BarbaraBB This one won indeed the Pulitzer. I heard it‘d very good. I did read and enjoy his other book, 2mo
See All 11 Comments
Caroline2 I‘ve had this on my tbr pile for a while now but I haven‘t jumped in yet! 2mo
LazyDays Interesting cover! The one available over here is bright red with and outlined face. 2mo
LazyDays His other book was a great read. Top of my list the year I read it.😊 2mo
k.reads.5 This has been on my TBR for ages! 2mo
mklong I was surprised by how much I loved this one. It seemed like one of those books that you “should“ read because it's important, but I didn't expect to enjoy it so much. 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm Looks like we should place this further up our tbr pile! @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB @Caroline2 @LazyDays @pl.2886 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm @KathyWheeler @mklong I hope to get to this soon. 2mo
Cinfhen I think you‘re right, Jess!! I‘ll have to move it up♥️ 2mo
68 likes1 stack add11 comments
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LWagoner
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Pickpick

This an epic novel- expertly & creatively written from the perspective of a secret agent writing his confession of his involvement with the war in Vietnam. The writing is rich and plums the depth of the war, the refugees & other players in this war. Hard at times to read, but brilliantly written.

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SShiney
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Pickpick

My book club will discuss this book next week. Not what I expected it to be. Loved the narrative voice, a lot of action and complex discussions of culture, identity, and history. Amazing!

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nudibranch
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Carolyn11215 I reserve one at a time and still end up with 13 checked out at latest count! 6mo
megnews You can never have too many options! 6mo
madamereadsalot1 Pachinko!! 6mo
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EmilyM The Sympathizer is on my TBR! Pachinko is one of my favorites. 6mo
TheSpineView When you are talking books and squirrels the more nuts the better!🤣 6mo
Crazeedi I've done that before.... 6mo
72 likes6 comments
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Jee_HookedOnBookz
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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1. Hoping to read the tagged book soon.
2. How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery
3. "I am still learning how to be a good creature. Though I try earnestly, I often fail. But I am having a great life trying." I want to keep reminding myself to practice kindness everyday, to set a good example to my kids.
#WeekendReads @rachelsbrittain

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derr.liz
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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For me, this was a challenging but ultimately rewarding read.

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Centique
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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The wonderful @Cinfhen is having a giveaway #TwoSweetGiveaway of some lovely titles - most of which are on my TBR. (On second thoughts don‘t draw my name - it‘s too far to send that many books!)

PS I don‘t know why my parcel to you hasn‘t turned up yet 😒 I‘m back home in a week and I‘ll go check it with the post office.

Cinfhen Thanks for the repost!!! I sent u a small parcel too on Dec 2!!!! Mail is JUST super slow 💗💗💗 8mo
67 likes1 comment
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JLaurenceCohen
Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen

A re-telling of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, The Sympathizer is the story of a Communist double agent. It includes a withering satire of Francis Ford Coppola through a fictionalization of the filming of Apocalypse Now.

Ruthiella A retelling of Ellison? I did not get that at all, though it‘s been many years since I read Invisible Man.🧐 8mo
JLaurenceCohen The interrogation sequence is a pretty direct echo of the hospital scene from IM. The idea of being a double agent recalls the riddle of the invisible man's grandfather. Plus, the episodic structure and the larger concerns with identity. 8mo
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kgriffith
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Oof. Okay, I‘m not going to share every passage that moves me because probably you just need to read the book, but this reflection on identity is particularly gutting, while still beautiful and with a touch of humor. Masterful. #24B42019 #readathon

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kgriffith
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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“Fabricated of supple brown leather by an esteemed New England manufacturer, the rucksack smelled richly, mysteriously of autumn leaves, grilled lobster, and the sweat and sperm of boys‘ boarding schools.” Whatever New England manufacturer could it be? 🤔😋 #24B42019 #readathon #localflavor #brunchbook #coffeeme

rachelm I‘m rereading this right now. So excellent 8mo
kgriffith @rachelm I‘m hardly getting anywhere because I keep rereading individual phrases, and whole paragraphs, because they‘re so good. 8mo
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8little_paws
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Pickpick

Completely blew me away. The author's voice is confident and unique, and he examines so much about the Vietnam war generally left unexamined by the US. It's a dense book, but worth the time investment imo.

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rachelm
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Listening to this one for the second time and it‘s even better than I remembered. Amazing, startlingly funny and harsh at the same time.

Megabooks I need to read this. I loved his short story collection. 8mo
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kgriffith
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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“...a renowned television anchor who modeled his enunciation after Moses, as played by Charlton Heston.” 😂

kgriffith Let me know if you get notified, @Schnoebs 8mo
Schnoebs @kgriffith it worked. I wonder why that didn‘t work for the other one 🤷‍♀️ 8mo
kgriffith @Schnoebs Let us know if it happens again and maybe we can narrow down common denominators! 8mo
35 likes1 stack add3 comments
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kgriffith
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Sometimes your reading is dictated by whatever‘s in the car when you make an impromptu donut stop after having blood drawn.

Caroline2 Oh I‘ve had this sitting on my tbr shelf for agessss! Your edition is much nicer than mine tho! 👍🏻 😍 8mo
kgriffith @Caroline2 Little Free Library across the street from my house! 😍 8mo
Caroline2 @kgriffith awesome find! 👍🏻 8mo
54 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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erzascarletbookgasm
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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I don‘t know if I‘ll have any #sympathy for the main character of this book, as I‘ve yet to read it. However I think the book will fulfill one of the prompts for next year‘s reading challenge. 🤞
#NoFemmeber

Thanks for hosting, @Billypar and @Cinfhen ! 🧡🧡

Cinfhen Thanks for playing along 🥰 you ready to cohost?!?!! 9mo
erzascarletbookgasm Ha! I can‘t even keep up with the prompts daily, I‘ll be a bad cohost! Thanks for thinking of me, so honoured, @Cinfhen but I‘ll pass. 😙 9mo
Billypar I liked this one- Nguyen's writing is pretty impressive. Thanks for joining in this month! Regarding co-hosting, I'm not usually a daily poster- this was the the first month I did that. It was very fun- I just wish it didn't take me so long to write stuff 😋 9mo
70 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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8little_paws
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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I'm heading out on a 2 week vacation Monday night, so I'll be reading exclusively from my kindle during that time. Here's the immediate tbr stack for when I get back-- plus the new Barbara Kingsolver which is on its way to my house! Which one should I start with!? 🤔

JenReadsAlot That's a great stack! 9mo
Cinfhen Have fun and you have a great stack waiting for you when u get back! 9mo
Notafraidofwords Men we reaped ! 9mo
53 likes3 comments
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rachellayown
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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I‘ve put off reading this one for too long, so started it this morning. I‘m anticipating a slow not exactly page-turning book that I won‘t overly enjoy, but will be glad to have read. Those who‘ve read it: is this the case?

MicheleinPhilly 👋🏼👋🏼👋🏼👋🏼Long time, no see! I bought this years ago and have put it off for the same reason. 10mo
Billypar It sort of shifts as it goes- at times, it's kind of a dark-comic, war-time satire, but there are other spots where it's more suspenseful. Overall I enjoyed it- clever and thought-provoking. 10mo
rachellayown I know @MicheleinPhilly SO LONG! It‘s nice to be back. 🙂 10mo
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rachellayown Oooh good to know @Billypar ! Thank you! 10mo
Reggie Hey stranger, nice to see you back. 10mo
batsy Hello 👋🏽 I haven't read this one & look forward to your thoughts 🙂 10mo
rachellayown Hey @Reggie! Yes it‘s been a long time!!! 10mo
rachellayown Hey @Reggie ! Yes it‘s been a long time!!! 10mo
rachellayown Thanks @batsy! It will probably take me a while but I‘ll try to check in about it! 10mo
35 likes1 stack add9 comments
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LibLib
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
Pickpick

Life got in the way and I‘m sad it took me so long to finish this book because it was fantastic!I‘ve read a lot of good books this year but this one was the most thought provoking and unique book I‘ve read in a while.I love when books expose me to completely new worlds and perspectives.I learned about the Vietnam War in school but this was from such a different angle that it makes me want to read his other book Refugees.I highly suggest reading!

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avgeyer
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Mehso-so

I know I‘m in the minority here, but this was just okay for me. There were parts that I enjoyed, but I just couldn‘t fully get into it and I had to push myself to finish it. 🤷🏽‍♀️

YouReadMyEyes Same! 11mo
Lauram Me too. I hate when reading becomes a chore. 11mo
zsuzsanna_reads I leatnt that I often feel meh about Pulitzer prize winners. 11mo
avgeyer @zsuzsanna_reads same! I read The Orphan Master‘s Son, also a Pulitzer winner, and actually hated it. 11mo
zsuzsanna_reads @avgeyer I finished Less recently and it was nice and enjoyable in a forgettable way, but I would not have thought it would win a major prize. The choices often feel quite political to me: funnily enough one of the points the author makes in Less. (The main character is a novelist.) 11mo
30 likes1 stack add5 comments
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avgeyer
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Spinach. And Broccoli.

Linear Random names for twins... i feel like theres more to it than this lol 12mo
23 likes1 comment
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avgeyer
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Starting this today, sitting on the patio enjoying this insanely wonderful weather

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LibLib
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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This book is shaping up to be a great read. I can‘t begin to describe how well Nguyen weaves his words together to make such unique imagery and evoke complex feelings. This quote is just a small sample of his excellent word play. #humiditysucks #pulitzerprize

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Heatheringheights
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Sleeping through the suspense. #dogandbook

BookMaven407 💜🐶 12mo
16 likes1 comment
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JessicaBates
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Five chapters into this one. It‘s interesting so far. Anyone out there read it?

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kgriffith
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Is it tacky to organize someone else‘s Little Free Library? Asking for a friend. 😬 But seriously, I LOVE that this is right across the street! And I picked up the tagged book and delivered a few from my porch purge collection.

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego I do it all the time. 12mo
Dolly Oh, funny, these flowers look like the ones in the pic I just posted. Never saw them before but decided to try to grow some. Tithonia? Mexican sunflower. And yeah, a book lover must touch all the books, straighten and pat. 12mo
kgriffith @Dolly they do! 12mo
71 likes4 comments
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LibLib
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Hope this is worthy of its Pulitzer Prize! 🏆

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Cinfhen
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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What fun to arrive to #birthdayMail from the EVER generous and amazing @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 💗🎉💗Thank you so much for the card and lovely gifts!!! I‘m so envious of your stunning penmanship and artistic wrapping skills🙌🏻 I‘m looking forward to both books although Niki already called The Marriage Lie as her weekend read❤️ CUTE bookmark #BOTMbuddyRead

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks You‘re very welcome!!! I hope you haven‘t read them! I found them on your tbr list ☺️ Sorry about the sticker on The Marriage Lie, I couldn‘t get it off!! I hope you have a great vacation!!! 😘💗😘💗 14mo
116 likes1 comment
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underground_bks
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Pickpick

I had high expectations for this one, and The Sympathizer subverted those expectations at every turn, being more intense, more hilarious, more upsetting, more philosophically disturbing, more challenging, more eye-opening. I really struggled with it emotionally until the end, when I just couldn‘t put it down. Now having finished it, I expect this book to illuminate and haunt my thinking for years to come.

ReadingEnvy It's so good. I went to see the author speak last year and it made me like it even more. 14mo
underground_bks @ReadingEnvy I would love to hear him speak! I really appreciated the essay and interview at the back of my copy! 14mo
18 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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autley
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
Pickpick

Love the words, style, humor, and seriousness.

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Tiyas7
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Just Got This Book

A Satire, Vietnam War & Pulitzer Prize!!!
Just Perfect✌

#saturdayvives

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Heatheringheights
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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ChrisBohjalian
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Spectacular. Pure and simple: spectacular. Dazzling.

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Sue
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Pickpick

Just realised I hadn‘t reviewed this one, and I did want to say something.

The end of this book is seriously fucking disturbing folks. I don‘t generally react to books, but this sucker gave me a panic attack.

Definitely worth a read if you are up for it, but TW for a brutal rape scene and torture.

Christy2318 I was on fence about reading this because of the lack of punctuation. Your review has pushed it into the hard pass category. 1y
Sue @Christy2318 I didn‘t find the lack of punctuation too off putting - it was easy enough to get into the swing of. But I completely understand. 1y
59 likes2 comments
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Chelapf
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Coworker gave me a last minute free ticket to go see Viet Thanh Nguyen at the Schnitz last night. He gave such an important talk. So excited to move up The Sympathizer in my to-read list. Can‘t wait to read it!

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Sue
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Took the day off work for a meeting at the kid‘s school this morning. Now we‘re reading at the beach and it‘s a beautiful day.

tpixie Lovely 😊 1y
AmyG Isn‘t that perfect. ❤️ 1y
Cathythoughts Beautiful 💙💙💙 1y
93 likes1 stack add3 comments
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BellaBookNook
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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I‘ve been meaning to read this. I just made a quick donation drop at Savers this morning and stopped for a peek at the books. I found 3 but I just can‘t process this big ugly Savers sticker. I mean didn‘t they see this book is a Pulitzer Prize Winner and Andrew Carnegie Medal recipient? Book blasphemy I tell you!! Naturally I will be removing it! 😉 #pulitzerprizewinner #thriftfind

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cocomass
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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So...this happened 😱😍

#BayAreaBookFest
#BayAreaBookFestival2018

Reviewsbylola 😍😍😍 1y
39 likes2 comments
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CotziasReads
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Started this at 11 am. now 5 p.m and almost done. Could not put it down. Love. It like FX's The Americans only set in the 70s and about a Vietnam communist spy.
#thesympathizer

10 likes1 stack add
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azulaco
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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It‘s my birthday! My husband gave me a copy of a book I‘ve been wanting to read for a long time, signed by the author! Also a Beauty and the Beast DVD for my Disney collection! I‘m excited! Many exclamation points!

Ms.Story Happy Birthday! 🎂🎈🎉 1y
17 likes1 comment
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AAmuses
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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“I liked my scotch undiluted, like I liked my truth.” Few pages later. “It was instead, the best kind of truth, the one that meant at least two things.”

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nofutureparttwo
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen

“[T]he mall was bordered by an example of America‘s most unique architectural contribution to the world, a parking lot. Some bemoan the brutalism of socialist architecture, but was the blandness of capitalist architecture any better? One could drive for miles along a boulevard and see nothing but parking lots and the kudzu of strip malls catering to every need, [...] each one an advertisement for the pursuit of happiness.”

saresmoore Well, there‘s a truth punch. 2y
nofutureparttwo @saresmoore Right?? This book is basically a 400-page series of truth punches. Also “the kudzu of strip malls” is one of the most brilliant descriptions of anything that I‘ve ever read. 2y
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nofutureparttwo
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen

“I was careful, then, to present myself as just another immigrant, glad to be in the land where the pursuit of happiness was guaranteed in writing, which, when one comes to think about it, is not such a great deal. Now a guarantee of happiness—that‘s a great deal. But a guarantee to be allowed to pursue the jackpot of happiness? Merely an opportunity to buy a lottery ticket. Someone would surely win millions, but millions would surely pay for it.”

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nofutureparttwo
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen

“I pitied the French for their naïveté in believing they had to visit a country in order to exploit it. Hollywood was much more efficient, imagining the countries it wanted to exploit. [...This] marked something new in the world, for this was the first war where the losers would write history instead of the victors, courtesy of the most efficient propaganda machine ever created [...]. Our fate was not to be merely mute; we were to be struck dumb.”

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nofutureparttwo
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen

“I naively believed that I could divert the Hollywood organism from its goal, the simultaneous lobotomization and pickpocketing of the world‘s audiences. [...] Hollywood did not just make horror movie monsters, it was its own horror movie monster, smashing me under its foot.”
———
Clear resonance here with Adorno‘s critique of the culture industry, further complicating this book‘s dialectical engagement w/ Marxist criticism.

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AAmuses
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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Vansa
The Sympathizer | Viet Thanh Nguyen
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