The Sympathizer
2015 • 499 pages


Average rating4.1


But I could still recognize him, for who but a man with two minds could understand a man with no face?

Staggering. A story that is political satire, spy lit, and character/cultural study all at once, conveyed with sweeping prose of description and dialogue, memory and present, all which bleed together in Nguyen's gorgeous writing. The pure artistry of the language here is at times electrifying, yet the content itself is so bleak in itself, despite the excellent humorous touches. Despite the soaring ambitions, almost everything here worked for me, my only significant complaint being the writing of women, which is the only place the lovely description really falters. I can understand why others claim this overwritten or didactic, but I really liked the style here, and how it so effortlessly blends fact and fiction. I'm thinking a light 4.5 stars.