What’s on the CG’s Bookshelf?

What's on the CG's Bookshelf.

Showcasing American authors, past and present

This month the Consulate General introduces a new social media series to highlight American writers.  Please join us each month as we choose a new book and author.  Some names will be immediately recognizable; others you may be hearing for the first time.  In every case, our hope is to showcase the diversity and vitality of American writers and their impact on English-language literature in the U.S. and abroad, as well as their influence on the social and political landscape in America today and throughout its history.

This month’s book is The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction.  The book tells the story of the fall of Saigon in 1975 and the subsequent post-war years from the unique vantage point of conflicted communist agent.  Born in Vietnam and fleeing to America as a child refugee, Nguyen’s writing has been compared to the likes of Graham Greene, Joseph Conrad and John Le Carré.  He earned his PhD in English at the University of California, Berkeley, and currently teaches English and American Studies at the University of Southern California.  The Washington Post called The Sympathizer “A new classic of war fiction…a cerebral thriller…Nguyen [the reviewer said] plumbs the loneliness of human life, the costs of fraternity and the tragic limits of our sympathy.”  According to Nguyen, his intent in writing the book was to reveal the war through Vietnamese eyes, contrasting the approach taken by so many commentators before him, and in particular by Hollywood filmmakers.  Nguyen’s book is equally an immigrant story told by someone, who like the main character, is a product of two worlds.

In addition to this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Sympathizer earned numerous other awards, including the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America.  Learn more about the book and author at vietnguyen.info.

Send us a message and tell us what you think of this book.  Also, let us know of other books and American authors we should add to the CG’s bookshelf.  See you next month!