Viet Thanh Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Other honors include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards, and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association. His other books are Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction) and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is a University Professor, the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He has been interviewed by Tavis SmileyCharlie RoseSeth Meyers, and Terry Gross, among many others. He is also the author of the bestselling short story collection, The Refugees. Most recently he has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, and le Prix du meilleur livre étranger (Best Foreign Book in France), for The Sympathizer. He is the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives and the Library of America volume for Maxine Hong Kingston. He co-authored Chicken of the Sea, a children’s book, with his then six-year-old son, Ellison, and his most recent book is The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer. HBO is turning The Sympathizer into a TV series for 2023, directed by Park Chan-wook. Viet’s next book is A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial, forthcoming in October from Grove Press.


With insight, humor, formal invention, and lyricism, in A Man of Two Faces Viet Thanh Nguyen rewinds the film of his own life. He expands the genre of personal memoir by acknowledging larger stories of refugeehood, colonization, and ideas about Vietnam and America, writing with his trademark sardonic wit and incisive analysis, as well as a deep emotional openness about his life as a father and a son.

At the age of four, Nguyen and his family are forced to flee his hometown of Ban Mê Thuột and come to the USA as refugees. After being removed from his brother and parents and homed with a family on his own, Nguyen is later allowed to resettle into his own family in suburban San José. But there is violence hidden behind the sunny façade of what he calls AMERICA™. One Christmas Eve, when Nguyen is nine, while watching cartoons at home, he learns that his parents have been shot while working at their grocery store, the SàiGòn Mới, a place where he sometimes helps price tins of fruit with a sticker gun. Years later, as a teenager, the blood-stirring drama of the films of the Vietnam War such as Apocalypse Now throw Nguyen into an existential crisis: how can he be both American and Vietnamese, both the killer and the person being killed? When he learns about an adopted sister who has stayed back in Vietnam, and ultimately visits her, he grows to understand just how much his parents have left behind. And as his parents age, he worries increasingly about their comfort and care, and realizes that some of their older wounds are reopening,

Profound in its emotions and brilliant in its thinking about cultural power, A Man of Two Faces explores the necessity of both forgetting and of memory, the promises America so readily makes and breaks, and the exceptional life story of one of the most original and important writers working today.

Past Shows


Oct
24
th
2023
The Fitzgerald Theater
Oct
24
th
2023
The Fitzgerald Theater

Talking Volumes with Viet Thanh Nguyen

hosted by Kerri Miller

More Shows

Aug
11
th
Fine Line

SeeYouSpaceCowboy

with The Callous Daoboys and Omerta
Oct
20
th
Fine Line

The Elovaters

with Cisco Adler and Bikini Trill
Oct
10
th
Fine Line

BUNT.

Oct
5
th
The Fitzgerald Theater

Serial Killers with Dr. Scott Bonn