The sympathizers of Viet Thanh Nguyen Review

The author Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in 1971 in South Vietnam, fled shortly before the fall of Saigon with parents and brother in the United States, and later received his doctorate in Berkeley in English and is therefore largely characterized as Americans. But his Vietnamese roots he was always aware of. They are reflected in his 2016 published, now translated by Wolfgang Müller debut novel ” The Sympathizer < "

Now, there are already enough considerable and serious literature and films about the dark chapter of the Vietnam war. But all revolve mainly around the traumas that America has suffered. Many works oppose the relentless American extermination pictures of the heroism of patriotic US soldier who defends freedom of a distant country with his life. His enemy is but where they operate the Vietcong, initially small revolutionary groups of partisans of the communist North, ill-equipped adept at guerrilla warfare in the jungle, virtually invisible and no less merciless. Neither the defoliation of entire regions or the destruction of civilian villages can stop their advance towards the south.

When the Communist forces end April 1975 to take the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon, uses a dramatic exodus. Soldiers and civilians, relations, kickbacks or force have enough push in the last army helicopter that leave under heavy fire Saigon. Harrowing television pictures of the evacuation wear America’s shame around the world.

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel is, amazingly, the first describes the events from the perspective of the Vietnamese. But he does not draw simply a counterpart to the American epics, but a complex picture of the truth that is even more elusive than it is reported from the perspective of a dazzling many fractured personality. “I’m a spy, a sleeper, a mole, a man with two faces, […] a” double minded man, “says the protagonist confesses without a name equal to the input records to his dubious role.

with the self-blame the man his writing, a required confession he has to prepare as a prisoner in a communist re-education camp begins. the Südvietnamese came after the war in America with revanchist groups in contact and was commissioned a handful of men in the . United Vietnam smuggle where the resistance to the new regime to be goaded that it would be doing a “suicide mission” was clear; that it actually was one, but the leader saw himself by the project to the Vietcong betrayed.

Despite this fact, he has to prove in the camp his true sentiments. To the expectations of the commander meet, he bends the truth cope vigorously. Because of course it is better suited to an upright class fighter that in Saigon he had his existence in a heavily guarded single cell must eke than to reveal that he resided as senior official of the secret police in a posh villa including own cleaning lady.

< p> But a cowardly hypocrite is not the narrator. Quite “rebellious” he insists on certain positions – at the cost of longer having to remain in custody.

He refuses to write down certain formulations that are expected of them, such as the flat-rate confession that he was “infected by the West”, or slogans such as “Long live the party and state. Following the glorious example of Ho Chi Minh. Let us a wonderful , perfect company to build! ” to bring this kind “clichés” on paper it considers an “as great a crime as a man to kill.

” To confess that he has committed a double murder, he however, presents no worries, because the victims were class enemies. In solitary confinement and under torture afflicted to finally confess to a real (anti revolutionary) crimes, he insists on having done “nothing”. but that it displaces its share of responsibility for a brutal orgy of violence.

This event is one of the distinctive key scenes for the author’s intention. Noble ideals such as independence and freedom be abused by all parties of the political struggle for their own benefits.

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was in Vietnam, for “imperialists” and “Revolutionary”: No sooner had they possessed the land they used a dictatorial regime that expressed the ideals propagated mockery. Million people died has always been in pointless wars for “things [that] less than are worth nothing,” and there is no evidence that the futile death would find an end.

Who and how this two-faced protagonist in his innermost core, is not tangible. Even from his birth ago, the son of a French priest and a Vietnamese mother as a “bastard”, hit in the chest two hearts feels that his life between East and West remains culturally torn. Hell Saigon escape, he finds himself in California, where the Vietnamese refugees are unwelcome. All too obvious remind them of the “painful defeat” of the nation. So the exiles eke out a poor existence. Humiliated and disillusioned dream not a few of them to return to their homeland and restore the old conditions. That operates a spy in the midst of his group suspects a general, not knowing that this is about his most intimate confidant. From its dual commitment – for the new Communist authorities in Vietnam and at the same time for their enemies in exile – the crackling exciting, application rich plot of the novel

incapable of true solidarity, or even personal development The agent itself seems. policy decisions. The free American lifestyle tells him to, just as it deters its non-binding nature. He betrays the hopes of his exiled compatriots to the Communists and in the same breath his own communist ideals in favor of the western consumer society. He tortures and kills, as one expected of him, and tortured in captivity itself, until it broke.

In other sets than many Vietnam films Viet Thanh Nguyen not the horror effect of Asian brutality. Drastic violence descriptions are rare and cool aloof in tone. With smug undertone however, he dissects the American Way of Life . Some passages – such as the “Disney ideology” – come as a cynical political satire therefore. The Hollywood business is considered a whole storyline. A well-known film director (one thinks inevitably of Francis Ford Coppola and Oliver Stone) is planning the ultimate Vietnam movie “The Village”, a monstrous epic about white heroes, “the good people from bad yellow yellow people saved.” As he himself knows only war events from the films of his childhood, he has been involved as a “technical consultant for authenticity” of all our “mole”. While shooting on a Philippine island authenticity but then only to the extent desired that “the average American is his own happiness was aware.” The extras provided by the Consultant (one hundred poor boat people from a refugee camp) need only the “role of the unfortunate” to play. The true horror of war slaughterings, the anguished cries of civilians in fear of death would, as the director, no one heard. “This is the people a shit.” The “Technical Adviser” a bend and makes the limitation on appearances his contribution to the propaganda: “Look, we can join in a few Yellow We do not hate them, we love them…” Instead of a real anti-war film this spectacle “only a sequel to our and the prequel to the next war, was appointed to the America.”

And indeed yes films have like Apocalypse Now and go through hell the succeeded not alter America’s military policy. Despite losing, now as a “war of attrition” instead of glossed over as a “war of extermination” disaster is the United States since then invaded numerous crisis regions, always under the doctrine to bring freedom to the country.

Viet Thanh Nguyen stimulating novel little will change.

This book I have on the list Zu my 20 Lieblingsbüchern”

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The sympathizers of Viet Thanh Nguyen Review. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved from

The sympathizers of Viet Thanh Nguyen Review
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