Viet Thanh Nguyen: Through the Eyes of a Vietnamese Refugee
In 1975, at the age of four, Viet Thanh Nguyen fled from Vietnam with his family. Like so many others, these refugees from their war-torn country ended up in America. Fortunately, Nguyen is blessed with a stellar command of the written word and has produced two illuminating semi-autobiographical novels. Together they go a long way towards rewriting the narrative of the Vietnam war; a story until now largely written from an American perspective. Nguyen’s novels – first The Sympathizer and its new follow-up The Committed – show America and France through the eyes of a Vietnamese refugee.
It is not necessary to have read the first Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to enjoy the second, but both share the same narrator, a communist spy, half-Vietnamese and half-French. Nguyen has created two political, passionately anti-colonial novels that feel perfectly attuned to our times. In this event he joins us via live link to discuss the real-life events that contributed to his novel, and the ways fiction can challenge perceived real-world truths.