Skip to main content

One City, One Story: 2017

Pasadena’s 15th One City, One Story community reading celebration book selection is the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer by author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

The author will visit Pasadena and appear at All Saints Church at 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 2nd.

About the Book

A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. 

  cover image the sympathizerIt is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today. 

About the Author


Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. His stories have appeared in Best New American Voices, TriQuarterly, Narrative, and the Chicago Tribune and he is the author of the academic book Race and Resistance. He teaches English and American Studies at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles. 


(Image Credit: BeBe Jacobs)

Checkout The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer is available for checkout from the Library in the following formats and editions, as well as for sale in local bookstores.

Book-cover   large-print-book-cover image-e-book ebook-cover  
Book   Large Print



‚ÄčOverDrive (Kindle)



More Books to Read...

Interested in reading and learning more about Vietnam--the history, culture and about the war? Here are some places to get started, for readers of all ages.

2017 Finalists

The Sympathizer was chosen from a shortlist including the following titles:

Shortlist Titles

Viet Thanh Nguyen runs and edits a blog for the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN), called DiaCRITICS, where bloggers write all about "anything and everything related to the arts and culture of the Vietnamese in their homeland or in the diaspora"... including "the ways that other people write about the Vietnamese." 


Visit DVAN


"XII" by Joe Le Merou, used under Creative Commons Attribution license

A picture of people waiting for the bus, on the street in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam.