Arts & Culture

Pulitzer winner Viet Thanh Nguyen speaks Tuesday in Boise

Viet Thanh Nguyen at his home in Los Angeles.
Viet Thanh Nguyen at his home in Los Angeles. NYT

Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, will speak at The Egyptian Theatre in Boise on Tuesday, March 6. The event, part of The Cabin’s Readings and Conversations series, is sold out, but due to cancellations, same-day sales tickets are generally available at the door an hour before the event.

“The Sympathizer” is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal, according to the books and authors website Goodreads. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam.

“The great achievement of ‘The Sympathizer’ is that it gives the Vietnamese a voice and demands that we pay attention,” Sarah Lyall wrote in a review in The New York Times. “There are so many passages to admire. Nguyen is a master of the telling ironic phrase and the biting detail, and the book pulses with ‘Catch-22’-style absurdities.”

The book has its moments of levity but it ends on a dark note. “There are no conventional happy endings here,” Nguyen told the New York Times. “Conventional happy endings are the property of Hollywood. And that’s propaganda — propaganda for the American dream. I don’t believe in that,” said Nguyen, who writes and teaches in southern California.

Readings and Conversations with Viet Thanh Nguyen: Nguyen’s novel “The Sympathizer” is a New York Times bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction among a list of other honors. 7:30 p.m. March 6, Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., Boise. $15-$70. 208-331-8000,

Idaho Statesman