Special, important, brilliant: That’s the rave review from Nancy Pearl for this week’s reading pick, and she doesn’t use those words lightly. The book is “The Sympathizer,” by Viet Thanh Nguyen, an associate professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicities at USC who was born in Vietnam and came to the United States as a refugee in 1975.
His novel follows an unnamed main character from South Vietnam who acts a spy for the North around the end of the war.
Pearl told Marcie Sillman on KUOW’s The Record that it should be on everyone’s must-read list, but it’s not an easy read.
“It is laugh-aloud funny in many places and terrifying and harrowing to read in other places,” she said. “But it took a lot for me to read it. It took a lot of compartmentalizing on my part.”