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The Sympathizer

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

Featuring Aubrey Hicks, Janet Hoskins, Lisa Schweitzer, and David Sloane
This edition of the book club features the astounding Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” whom we meet through a confession that we know to be some time after the Fall of Saigon. Our unnamed spy narrator is a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who was educated in America and returned to Vietnam during the conflict, spying on his American and army confederates. Things fall apart after the Fall of Saigon, as he tries to build a new life with other refugees in Los Angeles all the while secretly reporting back to his communist allies.We were lucky enough to be joined by four sympathizing souls to discuss the nature of identity and empathy in the aftermath of war and how conflicts of sympathy shape the lives of refugees and the new cultures they join.
To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Sympathizer click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player at the top of this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play Follow us on Twitter! @AubreyHi @dcsloane53 @drschweitzer @BedrosianCenter Follow Viet Thanh Nguyen on Twitter! @viet_t_nguyen

Links …

Just Lather, That’s All by Hernando Tellez Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine Reporter and Vietnamese Communist Agent by Larry Berman The Spy Who Loved Us: The Vietnam War and Pham Xuan An’s Dangerous Game by Thomas A. Bass
Richard Avedon photo of Pham Xuan An

Richard Avedon photo of Pham Xuan An and others, reproduced in The Spy Who Loved Us.

Achebe, Chinua. “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’” Massachusetts Review. 18. 1977. Nothing Ever Dies by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Next Month …

Sidewalking coverRead Sidewalking by David Ulin along with us, and listen to our discussion on October 31, 2016. “In Sidewalking, David L. Ulin offers a compelling inquiry into the evolving landscape of Los Angeles. Part personal narrative, part investigation of the city as both idea and environment,Sidewalking is many things: a discussion of Los Angeles as urban space, a history of the city’s built environment, a meditation on the author’s relationship to the city, and a rumination on the art of urban walking. Exploring Los Angeles through the soles of his feet, Ulin gets at the experience of its street life, drawing from urban theory, pop culture, and literature. For readers interested in the culture of Los Angeles, this book offers a pointed look beneath the surface in order to see, and engage with, the city on its own terms.” – Goodreads
Read along with us! Let us know what you think of the book or the podcasts at Facebook or Twitter.

This podcast was produced by Aubrey Hicks and Jonathan Schwartz, recorded and mixed by Corey Hedden.

@AubreyHi @jonHLYP @coreyhedden

Bedrosian Center