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The Committed – tekijä: Viet Thanh Nguyen
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The Committed (vuoden 2021 painos)

– tekijä: Viet Thanh Nguyen (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1177180,197 (3.82)4
Jäsen:irrelephant
Teoksen nimi:The Committed
Kirjailijat:Viet Thanh Nguyen (Tekijä)
Info:Grove Press (2021), 400 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:to-read

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The Committed (tekijä: Viet Thanh Nguyen)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Nguyen is a brilliant writer, but beware these novels are dense with ideas and thin on plot. ( )
  ghefferon | May 2, 2021 |
The Committed, a sequel to Nguyen's Pulitzer Prize winner, The Sympathizer, picks up in the 80's where the narrator has graduated from his reeducation camp and now tries to get by in the criminal underworld of Paris by selling drugs to rich aristocrats and intellectuals. I loved the first novel and admire this one but have to admit that the political explorations are less engaging than the first. The "narrative threads that carry us through the major political, economic and societal aftershocks of late 19th-century colonial expansion: capitalism, the rise of communism, immigration, assimilation, hypercapitalism, religious extremism."(Guardian) are a bit long winded. The writing however continues to be both funny and fascinating. The main character's relationship with Bon and Man, continue to develop from the first novel. The three are promised blood brothers who years later wind up on very different political sides with our narrator in the middle trying to prevent them from killing each other. The novel's ending leaves room for yet another exploration into half-Vietnamese and half-French, narrator who is a communist spy and refers to himself as “a man of two faces and two minds." Nguyen is an important, intelligent author. I should look into his other works.

Lines
I held on to the leather bag for this same nostalgic reason. Even though it was not very large, the bag, like Bon’s, was not full. Like most refugees we barely had any material belongings, even if our bags were packed with dreams and fantasies, trauma and pain, sorrow and loss, and, of course, ghosts. Since ghosts were weightless, we could carry an infinite number of them.

As for America, just think of Coca-Cola. That elixir is really something, embodying as it does the addictive, teeth-decaying sweetness of a capitalism that was no good for you no matter how it fizzled on the tongue.

When I explained that the luwak, the civet cat, ate the raw beans and excreted them, its intestines supposedly fermenting the beans in a gastronomic way, she burst out laughing, which rather hurt. Kopi luwak was very expensive, especially for refugees like us, and if there was anything that the French should love, it should have been civet-percolated coffee.

They, too, wore shirts and slacks and had arms, legs, and eyes as I did. But while we shared the same elements that made us human, they were clearly filet mignon, rare and perfectly seared, while I was boiled organ meat, most likely intestine.

Over the next few weeks, I made my deliveries with the nonchalant air of the law-abiding citizen, assured in the knowledge that the police tended not to look twice at Asians, or so Le Cao Boi had reassured me. At the restaurant, he pointed to how the Arabs and the blacks did us the unintentional favor of being our racial decoys, drawing the attention of police who thought them to be as brown, sticky, and aromatic as hashish itself.

To drink whiskey, in sufficient quantities, regardless of sufficient quality, is to polish the fuzzy mirror of one’s self and to adjust, in the manner of an optometrist, the focus of one’s lenses.

Organized religion was the first and greatest protection racket, an economy of perpetual profit built on voluntary fear and coerced guilt. Donating money to churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, cults, et cetera, to help ensure a spot for one’s soul in the express elevator to that penthouse in the sky known as the afterlife was marketing genius!

He opened the tin to reveal the sweetest cookie of all, the ultimate male prosthesis, a perpetually hard gun capable of rapid-fire ejaculation. ( )
  novelcommentary | Apr 28, 2021 |
“We were the unwanted, the unneeded, and the unseen, invisible to all but ourselves. Less than nothing, we also saw nothing as we crouched blindly in the unlit belly of our ark… Even among the unwanted there were unwanted, and at that, some of us could only laugh. “

“Politics is always personal, my dear, she said. That’s what makes it deadly.”

The Sympathizer returns, arriving in Paris, as a refugee, along with his blood brother, Bon. He is still struggling with the aftermath of his cruel, reeducation, and hooks up with a group of left-wing intellectuals. Unfortunately, he is also pulled into a band of Vietnamese, drug-dealers, which leads into all kinds of bloody mayhem. The Sympathizer has not escaped anything.
There is so much good writing here, plenty of introspection, along with deep looks at colonialism but these 400 pages felt like 600 pages, while I was reading it. Never-ending philosophical asides, teamed up with gruesome bouts of torture, made this an uneasy read. I loved the original novel and there are plenty of glowing reviews on this one, so you may want to judge for yourself. I remain Uncommitted. ( )
  msf59 | Apr 1, 2021 |
The powerful sequel to The Sympathizers continues the unreliable narrator’s story after he left America and moved to Paris. Along with his blood brother, Bon, who does not know Vo Danh was a North Vietnamese double agent in America. Bon cannot stand the Communists and so Vo Danh hopes his past remains a secret. Living at his “aunt’s” apartment, he and Bon find unsavory employment with the Boss. There are plenty of hair-raising adventures, along with the more pleasant adventures learning to live in Paris and reconnect with other Vietnamese refugees. Although a sequel, the book is also a standalone because Nguyen weaves what the reader needs to know about past happenings into the story. What stood out to me was how Vo Danh was more worried about the failures of capitalism than the drug world in which they were employed. ( )
  brangwinn | Mar 2, 2021 |
This follow-up to “The Sympathizer” is another crime novel filled with lots of ideas that focus in large measure on the complex legacy of the Vietnam experience. Along with his blood brother, Bon, Nguyen’s protagonist has fled Vietnam for his father’s homeland. They are now refugees in Paris. His former choices, both good and bad, don’t seem to matter much here where moral ambiguity is so prevalent. His Parisian setting gives Nguyen a platform to highlight the crime, violence, racism, prostitution, and drugs so prevalent in the West under capitalism while also questioning the oppression and brutalization of the Vietnamese people under French colonialism, the American intervention, and the Communist regime. Clearly, he sees both capitalism and communism as deeply flawed ideologies with little to offer but war and cruelty.

The Sympathizer and his blood brother, Bon, crash with his French Vietnamese aunt (really no relation) only to be introduced to her intellectual friends and to the French underworld with jobs at “the worst Asian restaurant in Paris.” Since the latter is really only a front for illegal drug dealing, the refugees are enlisted to develop a new clientele among his “aunt’s” intellectual acquaintances. Of course, this leads to the classical drug turf war and the usual violence that comes along with it. The plot is highly convoluted, frequently odd, incredibly violent, and often quite opaque, but Nguyen redeems it with lots of dark comedy that drips with irony.

Indeed, the thriller aspect of the novel is not really very prominent. Instead, Nguyen devotes large amounts of space to French philosophy and his protagonist’s questioning of his own commitments and betrayals. Notwithstanding markedly slowing the pace, these digressions give the novel a literary power absent in most crime genre fiction. Matters include his secret role as a communist spy, his torture at the hands of another friend in a post-war reeducation camp, his identity as an Asian minority, and especially his betrayal of Bon, a staunch anti-communist who lost his wife and child in the war. ( )
  ozzer | Jan 23, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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We were the unwanted, the unneeded, and the unseen, invisible to all but ourselves.
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