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One City, One Story: Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer: Home

Research guide dedicated to Pasadena's 2017 One City, One Story selection.

About the Book

The Sympathizer

Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer is the 2017 selection for Pasadena's One City, One Story community book celebration. This gripping historical novel, which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is narrated by an undercover Communist double agent who comes to Los Angeles after the fall of Saigon.

While adjusting to life in the United States, the half-French, half-Vietnamese Army captain is also acting as a spy and delivering messages to Communist superiors in Vietnam via coded letters to relatives. Nguyen deftly mixes dark comedy, political commentary, espionage, and identity crisis in this compelling and thought-provoking read. 

About the Author

Viet Thanh NguyenPhotograph of author Viet Thanh Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam. In 1975, he moved to the United States as a refugee. He grew up in San Jose, CA and graduated from UC Berkeley. He is a professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. In addition to teaching and writing, Nguyen is co-director of DVAN, the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, and edits the diaCRITICS blog. 

(Fourandsixty/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)

Learn More

Screen shot of Viet Thanh Nguyen author homepage

Find out more about the author by visiting his website. It includes book reviews, interviews, videos, news, essays, and more. Or follow him on Twitter. 

Save the Date

Viet Thanh Nguyen is coming to PCC!

When: March 2, 2017 11am-12:30pm

Where: PCC's Creveling Lounge

What: Discussion, Q&A, and Book Signing 

Books will be available for purchase.  

Further Reading

  Other Notable Books by Nguyen

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen, book coverThe Refugees 

Publisher's description: IThe Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. (coming 2/17)


Nothing Ever Dies by Viet Thanh Nguyen, book cover

Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War

Publisher's descriptionAll wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of the conflict Americans call the Vietnam War and Vietnamese call the American War—a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both nations. (finalist for 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction)