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The Committed

by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sympathizer (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4752053,060 (3.94)17
"The astonishing sequel to The Sympathizer, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, The Committed follows the "man of two minds" as he comes to Paris as a refugee. There he and his blood brother Bon try to escape their pasts and prepare for their futures by turning their hands to capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing. No longer in physical danger, but still inwardly tortured by his reeducation at the hands of his former best friend, and struggling to assimilate into a dominant culture, the Sympathizer is both charmed and disturbed by Paris. As he falls in with a group of left-wing intellectuals and politicians who frequent dinner parties given by his French Vietnamese "aunt," he finds not just stimulation for his mind but also customers for his merchandise-but the new life he is making has dangers he has not foreseen. Both literary thriller and brilliant 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"--… (more)
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» See also 17 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
In this book; Nguyen takes on the French. The book takes place in Paris; with gangsters, drug-dealers, etc, and at points a bit too violent for me. Overall, however, I liked it. Here's a favorite quote:

"that's what nobody tells you about the afterlife. It smells like rotten mean and putric water and black mold." ( )
  banjo123 | Mar 16, 2024 |
This sequel to Viet Thanh Nguyens' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer, is no less brilliant than its predecessor. The writing is whip-smart, witty, and lyrical.

Set in the early 1980s, the Eurasian, heretofore nameless, narrator--who calls himself Vo Danh in this book, which means, literally, "nameless"--is a refugee again, this time in Paris. France is the land and of his father--a priest who impregnated a young Vietnamese girl--and he still cannot feel at home, being a man of two faces and two minds. His current refugee status is the result of his time in a communist reeducation camp, from which he and his "best friend and blood brother," Bon, have fled via a harrowing boat trip and a flight from Jakarta.

In his new home, he becomes involved in organized crime in an underworld that is populated by former French colonists: Vietnamese thugs, Cambodian prostitutes, and alienated Algerians. It is interesting that Nguyen chose the title "The Committed," given that the narrator is anything but committed to a single idea or political philosophy. He is disillusioned with communism. As was developed in the first book, Vo Danh is blessed--or cursed--with the ability to see both sides of an issue, and after he has spent some time in France, he is not prepared to disavow Marxism or to embrace capitalism. Perhaps what he is ultimately committed to is his own psychological torture by undergoing serious self-examination.

If I could give more than five stars to a review, this would be the book. It took me a couple of weeks to read it because I had to stop and think about so many observations Nguyen made through this disturbing, interesting character. Fantastic. ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
Just as with his first, and Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Sympathizer, this novel is brilliantly created, conceived, drawn and executed. I loved it. Most characters are Vietnamese, Vietnamese-French or Vietnamese-American, the setting is Paris, and the protagonist is - or was - a spy. The author is a genius. ( )
  RickGeissal | Aug 16, 2023 |
lads he's done it again ( )
  i. | May 29, 2023 |
There's a lot of thinking about identity and culture and colonialism going on here and it is clever and subtle and refuses easy answers (much much less heavyhanded than a lot of stuff out there), but as a thing to read it's pure voice, pure style (plot is ridiculous, characters are mostly cardboard). Stylistically it reads to me like a better version of the standard American comic novel: exuberant wordplay, picaresque plot, but actually, you know, funny, reined in sufficiently to make a point, not overwhelmed by its own indulgent excess. I didn't exactly love it but I'm pretty sure I admire it. ( )
  hypostasise | May 28, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Viet Thanh Nguyenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baude, ClémentTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
"Nothing's more real than nothing."
--Rithy Panh with Christopher Bataille, 'The Elimination: A Survivor of the Khmer Rouge Confronts His Past and the Commandant of the Killing Fields'
Dedication
For Simone
First words
We were the unwanted, the unneeded, and the unseen, invisible to all but ourselves.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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"The astonishing sequel to The Sympathizer, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, The Committed follows the "man of two minds" as he comes to Paris as a refugee. There he and his blood brother Bon try to escape their pasts and prepare for their futures by turning their hands to capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing. No longer in physical danger, but still inwardly tortured by his reeducation at the hands of his former best friend, and struggling to assimilate into a dominant culture, the Sympathizer is both charmed and disturbed by Paris. As he falls in with a group of left-wing intellectuals and politicians who frequent dinner parties given by his French Vietnamese "aunt," he finds not just stimulation for his mind but also customers for his merchandise-but the new life he is making has dangers he has not foreseen. Both literary thriller and brilliant 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"--

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