Nguyen’s sequel to The Sympathizer is every bit as intelligent, satirical and deftly written as that modern classic, as our nameless North Vietnamese hero arrives in capitalist Paris and embarks on a career of drug dealing.
The long-awaited new novel from one of America's most highly regarded contemporary writers, The Committed follows the Sympathizer as he arrives in 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, from the oppression of the state, to the self-torture of addiction, to the seemingly unresolvable paradox of how he can reunite his two closest friends, men whose worldviews put them in absolute opposition.
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.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 600 g
Dimensions: 238 x 158 x 38 mm
'Call The Committed many things. A white hot literary thriller disguised as a searing novel of ideas. An unflinching look at redemption and damnation. An unblinking examination of the dangers of belief, and the need to believe. A sequel that goes toe to toe with the original then surpasses it. A masterwork.' - Marlon James
'This follow-up to his seminal The Sympathizer is Nguyen at his most ambitious and bold. Fierce in tone, capacious, witty, sharp, and deeply researched, The Committed marks, not just a sequel to its groundbreaking predecessor, but a sum total accumulation of a life devoted to Vietnamese American history and scholarship. This novel, like all daring novels, is a Trojan Horse, whose hidden power is a treatise of global futurity in the aftermath of colonial conquest. It asks questions central both to Vietnamese everywhere - and to our very species: How do we live in the wake of seismic loss and betrayal? And, perhaps even more critically, How do we laugh?' - Ocean Vuong
'An elegy to idealism, Orientalism, and existentialism in all its tragic forms, Nguyen's novel doesn't so much inhabit early eighties Paris, as it pulls the plug on the City of Light. Think of The Committed as the declaration of the 20th 1/2 Arrondissement. A squatter's paradise for those with one foot in the grave and the other shoved halfway up Western civilization's ass.' - Paul Beatty
'The Committed, Viet Thanh Nguyen's furious and exhilarating sequel to The Sympathizer, is part gangster-thriller, part searing cultural analysis of the post-colonial predicament, seen through the eyes of a Vietnamese-French mixed race bastard double agent. Paris of forty years ago swirls to life around him, from intellectual salons to filthy toilets-with glimpses of everyone from Johnny Hallyday to Frantz Fanon to Julia Kristeva. Like Ellison's Invisible Man, these novels will surely become classics.' - Claire Messud
'The Committed is nothing short of revelatory ... This book is fierce, and unrelentingly good. Hilarious and subversive, philosophical and hallucinatory, it is much more than a sequel, more like a necessary appendage in a brilliant and expansive anti-colonial body of work. Bravo.' - Tommy Orange
'The Committed is a rich and exhilarating story of friendship, loyalty, and greed. Set in 1980s Paris, it follows the characters from The Sympathizer as they try to fashion new lives among all the wretched of the earth. Viet Thanh Nguyen gives us an unsparing look at the poisonous effects of ideology - whether colonialism, communism, or capitalism - even as he explores the deep-seated need we all have to believe in something. A deep, compelling and humorous portrait of how we are shaped by fictions others have for us.' - Laila Lalami
'The Committed is a wonderful successor to The Sympathizer, a splendid tapestry of a novel, full of dubious but richly realized characters. It solidifies what we already know - Viet Thanh Nguyen is a gifted storyteller. It is difficult to know where to start with the praise. The characters have a sad and often tragic complexity, and the language offers a terrific ride for the reader. This is a grand novel full of breathtaking and luminous insights and a pure joy to read. Anticipation is why we come to a book, and joy is why we keep turning page after page. The Committed offers both, and so very much more.' - Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World
'Delightfully sardonic humour ... These are lectures that make you engage.' - Francesca Angelini, The Guardian
'If The Sympathizer was ostensibly a spy novel, then The Committed is a gangland thriller ... Two contemporary classics for your bedside table.' - The Telegraph
'Here it is, with perfect timing, a novel that anyone who is part of a colonising or colonised nation - and that includes, of course, America - should read ... Nguyen is a craftsman ... And then there's the sharp humour ... In The Committed, a political novel comes in the guise of a thriller ... Like The Sympathizer, it amounts to much more than the sum of its parts. These two novels constitute a powerful challenge to an enduring narrative of colonialism and neo-colonialism. One waits to see what Nguyen, and the man of two faces, will do next.' - The Guardian
'Its rawness and ideated rage make it easy to admire and perfect to study' - The Financial Times
'Just as The Sympathizer transformed the hulk of an old spy novel, The Committed does the same with a tale of crime noir.' - The Independent
'A brilliant rollercoaster of ideas and action.' - The Daily Mail
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