The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Title: The Sympathizer

Author: Viet Thanh Nguyen

Context: The Sympathizer is a historical fiction and gripping spy novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen set in the United States in the 1970s. It is the breakthrough novel of the author in 2016. It is a sweeping tale of betrayal and love with the suspense and pace of a thriller as well as prose.

Synopsis: The narrator of the story is a half-Vietnamese and half-French army captain, a man of two minds and a communist double agent. The captain is a man brought up by a poor Vietnamese mother and absent French father. He studied at the university in America but since he wanted to fight for the cause of Communists, he returns to Vietnam.

Saigon is in chaos in April 1975. The South Vietnamese army general is having whiskey at his villa and in the process makes a list of people who will be allowed to take flights out of the country. After the Fall of Saigon, he arranges to come to the United States. In Los Angeles he finds that he as well as other refugees, his compatriots of Vietnam are constructing a new life. Very secretly it is the captain who is observing and reporting on the group and report to the seniors in the Viet Cong. The communist superiors back in Vietnam are getting their full report.

A strong tale of friendship and love, a gripping spying and surveillance related novel, The Sympathizer intensely explores the identity of America. The novel is a moving love story and astutely explores extreme politics and spying. Life between two worlds is explored and legacy of the Vietnam War is examined in The Sympathizer.

Read realted notes  Katia Noyes

Other works by the Author:


2016 – Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and The Memory of War

2002 – Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America

Short Stories

2017 – The Refugees