Today’s guest, Viet Thanh Nguyen, returns to Between the Covers after six years to discuss The Committed, his much-anticipated follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Sympathizer. The second book in this trilogy finds our protagonist in the French Vietnamese community of Paris in the 1980s. We talk about the differences between France and the United States with regards to race and racism, communism, socialism, and revolution, and how that shapes the discourse within the Vietnamese communities in each country. We talk about the history of the term Asian American in this context, about ethical memory and what it requires of an individual and a community, about being a refugee versus an immigrant, about Francophone postcolonial and revolutionary thought—from Frantz Fanon to Jean-Paul Sartre to Hélène Cixous to Aimé Césaire—and much more.
You can listen to our first conversation from 2015 here.
For the bonus audio archive Viet talks about the importance of the work of Edward P. Jones and Maxine Hong Kingston for him as a writer, and reads excerpts from each of them to demonstrate why they are influential upon his work. To learn more about how to subscribe to the bonus audio and to look through the other potential rewards and gifts and content available to listener-supporters head over to the Between the Covers Patreon Page.