The Committed (Hardcover)
March 2021 Indie Next List
“In this sequel to The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen (and his semi-nameless narrator) once again skewer multiple ideologies with caustic wit, philosophical gravitas, and broad historical understanding. A mix of organized crime and psychological and political thriller, this book offers action (and there is lots of action!) unfolding amidst piercing meditations on colonialism, national identity, and ethics. In other words, The Committed uses much the same recipe as its Pulitzer-winning predecessor and delivers a similarly gripping, enraging, smart, and bleakly funny tale.”
— Annie Metcalf, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, MN
What does an author do to follow winning a Pulitzer Prize? In the case of Viet Thanh Nguyen the answer is to write an even better novel. He brings back his narrator from The Sympathizer, placing him in the expatriate community of Paris but the past experiences of Vietnam and the United States continue to drive all experience. The result is a powerful condemnation of all forms of colonialism and paternalism and the detrimental effects on all phases of the human condition, whether it be personal, political, historical, cultural, physical or mental. Our narrator finally receives a name at the very end but it is his anonymity that highlights the universal message of the story and also reflects his own and his people's loss of identity. This powerful, riveting story only further establishes Nguyen's legacy as one of the great cultural commentators of our time.— Bill
The sequel to The Sympathizer, which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and went on to sell over a million copies worldwide, The Committed tells the story of "the man of two minds" as he comes as a refugee to France and turns his hand to capitalism.
The long-awaited new novel from one of America's most highly regarded contemporary writers, The Committed follows the unnamed Sympathizer as he arrives in Paris in the early 1980s with his blood brother Bon. The pair try to overcome their pasts and ensure their futures by engaging in capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing.
Traumatized by his reeducation at the hands of his former best friend, Man, and struggling to assimilate into French culture, the Sympathizer finds Paris both seductive and disturbing. As he falls in with a group of left-wing intellectuals whom he meets at dinner parties given by his French Vietnamese "aunt," he finds stimulation for his mind but also customers for his narcotic merchandise. But the new life he is making has perils he has not foreseen, whether the self-torture of addiction, the authoritarianism of a state locked in a colonial mindset, or the seeming paradox of how to reunite his two closest friends whose worldviews put them in absolute opposition. The Sympathizer will need all his wits, resourcefulness, and moral flexibility if he is to prevail.
Both literary thriller and novel of ideas, The Committed is a blistering portrayal of commitment and betrayal that will cement Viet Thanh Nguyen's position in the firmament of American letters.