The Committed (Hardcover)
What does it mean to be a revolutionary? What is one willing to die for? Can a refugee ever feel at home in a new country?
In this brilliant follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Sympathizer, Nguyen continues the story of his biracial protagonist who has managed to survive reeducation in Vietnam after a brief career as an undercover Communist spy in the United States, and who, having escaped from Vietnam, has recently arrived in France, the country of his father. Through connections in the Vietnamese community, he and his blood brother land jobs in a mediocre Vietnamese restaurant that is owned by a Vietnamese drug dealer. When the Sympathizer is not cleaning toilets or delivering drugs and fending off attacks by Arab drug dealers, he spends his time reading political writers and trying to figure out his own conflicted political beliefs. The sometimes bizarre action is offset by the narrator’s tortured thoughts as he writes out his “confession” after having a mental breakdown. It’s a remarkable story of a man’s attempt to understand how he has survived his birth, upbringing, and adult experiences in a society where “the revolutionaries have become the state, the state has become repressive, and the bullets, once used against the oppressor in the name of the people, will be used against the people in their own name.”— Alice
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
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.
About the Author
Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. He is the author of The Sympathizer, which was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction alongside seven other prizes. He is also the author of the short story collection The Refugees, the nonfiction book Nothing Ever Dies, a finalist for the National Book Award, and is the editor of an anthology of refugee writing, The Displaced. He is the Aerol Arnold Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations. He lives in Los Angeles.