The committed / Viet Thanh Nguyen.
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- ISBN: 9780802157065
- ISBN: 0802157068
- Physical Description: xiii, 345 pages : illustration ; 24 cm
- Publisher: New York : Grove Press, 2021.
"The astonishing sequel to The Sympathizer, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, The Committed follows the "man of two minds" as he comes to Paris as a refugee. There he and his blood brother Bon try to escape their pasts and prepare for their futures by turning their hands to capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing. No longer in physical danger, but still inwardly tortured by his reeducation at the hands of his former best friend, and struggling to assimilate into a dominant culture, the Sympathizer is both charmed and disturbed by Paris. As he falls in with a group of left-wing intellectuals and politicians who frequent dinner parties given by his French Vietnamese "aunt," he finds not just stimulation for his mind but also customers for his merchandise-but the new life he is making has dangers he has not foreseen. Both literary thriller and brilliant novel of ideas, The Committed is a blistering portrayal of commitment and betrayal that will cement Viet Thanh Nguyen's position in the firmament of American letters"-- Provided by publisher.
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From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Six years since his first novel, The Sympathizer, won the Carnegie Medal and the Pulitzer Prize, Nguyễn is back with the much-anticipated second installment in a planned trilogy in which the same unreliable narrator adds another few hundred pages to the already 367-page confession he keeps in the false bottom of his leather duffel. Our anti-hero manages to record his French exploits since living in Paris with his blood-brother Bon, convincing whoever asks that he's in France to experience his (priest-who-impregnated-his-teen-housekeeper) father's homeland. At 37, he has survived senseless war, double spying for both the Communists and the CIA, tortuous reeducation, and refugee camps, to land on the couch of an aunt who isn't his relative, while working in an Asian restaurant with less-than-toothsome fare and supplying intellectuals with mind-altering substances. Working for the Boss almost gets him killed, but the retaliatory violence just leaves him feeling highly conflicted. Undeniably erudite and culturally fluent as ever--interweaving history, philosophy, political treatise, theology, even literary criticism--Nguyễn effortlessly enhances the story with snarky commentary, sly judgments, and plenty of wink-wink-nod-nod posturing to entertain committed readers.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fans of The Sympathizer will appreciate the many delight-inducing connections embedded here, but The Committed also works as a strong stand-alone.
Publishers Weekly Review
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The sequel to Nguyen's Pulitzer Prize--winning The Sympathizer is an exhilarating roller-coaster ride filled with violence, hidden identity, and meditations on whether the colonized can ever be free. The fractured, guilt-ridden narrator, a veteran of the South Vietnamese Army, where he was a mole for the communists, goes by his assumed name Vo Danh, which means "nameless." He has survived reeducation and a refugee camp and is now living in early 1980s Paris, along with his devoutly anti-communist "blood brother," Bon, who doesn't know he was a double agent. Vo Danh starts selling hashish for a Viet-Chinese drug lord called the Boss, whom he and Bon met in their refugee camp. The gig has him more vexed about the crime of capitalism than that of drug dealing, and he's not expecting a turf war. Indeed, he's chagrined to discover his rivals, French Arabs who share with him a legacy of colonization, want him dead. Meanwhile, there are opportunity for socializing, revenge, and reunions at the Vietnamese Union. The book works both as sequel and standalone, with Nguyen careful to fold in needed backstory, and the author's wordplay continues to scratch at the narrator's fractured sense of self ("I am not just one but two. Not just I but you. Not just me but we"). Pleasures abound, such as the narrator's hair-raising escapes, descriptions of the Boss's hokey bar ("This was the new and modern Orient, where opium was both cool and quaint, chic and cute, addictive and undemanding"), and thoughtful references to Fanon and CÃ©saire. Nguyen continues to delight. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Assoc. (Mar.)
Library Journal Review
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In this bated-breath follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Sympathizer, Nguyen's eponymous protagonist lands in France after his unfortunate reeducation by a former best friend. He loves Paris and finds his groove with a bunch of left-wing intellectuals and politicians, but his predominant means of support--dealing drugs--has its drawbacks. And his two closest friends have polar-opposite worldviews.