“I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds. I am not some misunderstood mutant from a comic book or a horror movie, although some have treated me as such. I am simply able to see any issue from both sides.”
The Sympathizer is the debut novel by Vietnamese American author and professor Viet Than Nguyen, about a South Vietnamese spy during the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the Government’s subsequent exile to Los Angeles. The unnamed narrator’s story, told as a confession in a political prison, attempts to make sense of his duplicitous lifestyle, the horrors he witnessed during his “work,” and his attempt to reconcile them within his own mind. A spy novel, a war novel, an immigrant novel, and a political novel, The Sympathizer gives American audiences a chance to gain a new perspective on the war, one that is in contrast to the one provided by Hollywood myth makers.