Reading and discussion with Viet Thanh Nguyen
Pulitzer-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen reads from recent work. His 2015 Pultizer-winning novel, The Sympathizer aptly describes themes related to diversity, difference, and otherness by narrating the Vietnam War from the point of view of the Vietnamese. The central character, the nameless narrator, embodies otherness. He lives between multiple worlds—the son of a Vietnamese mother and a French Catholic priest, a Communist undercover agent who works as the assistant to the chief of South Vietnam’s National Police—always both insider and outsider. The novel also explores the plight of war refugees once they arrive on American shores, and engages in a playful send-up of the film industry as the protagonist tries to influence American cinematic depictions of the conflict to be less jingoistic. Nguyen’s most recent book is a book of short stories, The Refugees.
Nguyen is Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Associate Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. His work as a scholar addresses urgent, contemporary issues such as identity and otherness; race and race politics; history and memory; nationalism and globalization; migration and the status of the refugee.