The Sympathizer
Lisa Baldez, Director, Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning; Professor of Government and Program in Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer: A Novel tells stories about the Vietnam War and its aftermath from the perspective of a North Vietnamese spy whose cover is serving as a captain on the South Vietnamese side. Nguyen vitriolicaly challenges American-dominated narratives about the war—with a stunning critique of Coppola’s Apocalypse Now—but avoids easy condemnation of one side or the other. It’s beautifully written, so much so that I expect it will continue to blossom when I read it again.