Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press
NEW!

The Committed

by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The sequel to The Sympathizer, which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and went on to sell over a million copies worldwide, The Committed tells the story of “the man of two minds” as he comes as a refugee to France and turns his hand to capitalism

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 368
  • Publication Date March 02, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5706-5
  • Dimensions 6.125" x 9"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date March 02, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5708-9
  • US List Price $27.00

The long-awaited new novel from one of America’s most highly regarded contemporary writers, The Committed follows the unnamed Sympathizer as he arrives in Paris in the early 1980s with his blood brother Bon. The pair try to overcome their pasts and ensure their futures by engaging in capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing.

Traumatized by his reeducation at the hands of his former best friend, Man, and struggling to assimilate into French culture, the Sympathizer finds Paris both seductive and disturbing. As he falls in with a group of left-wing intellectuals whom he meets at dinner parties given by his French Vietnamese “aunt,” he finds stimulation for his mind but also customers for his narcotic merchandise. But the new life he is making has perils he has not foreseen, whether the self-torture of addiction, the authoritarianism of a state locked in a colonial mindset, or the seeming paradox of how to reunite his two closest friends whose worldviews put them in absolute opposition. The Sympathizer will need all his wits, resourcefulness, and moral flexibility if he is to prevail.

Both literary thriller and novel of ideas, The Committed is a blistering portrayal of commitment and betrayal that will cement Viet Thanh Nguyen’s position in the firmament of American letters.

Praise for The Committed:

An Indies Introduce Title
Named a Most Named a Most Anticipated Book by USA Today, Time, Forbes, O, the Oprah Magazine, the Seattle Times, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Vulture, Literary Hub, Crime Reads, The Millions, BookPage, the Toronto Star, the Guardian, and Esquire (UK)

“A sumptuous sequel to The Sympathizer . . . The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist captures, with grace and restraint, the foibles of two young men caught in a duel between East and West.”—O, the Oprah Magazine

“An exhilarating roller-coaster ride filled with violence, hidden identity, and meditations on whether the colonized can ever be free . . . The book works both as sequel and standalone, with Nguyen careful to fold in needed backstory, and the author’s wordplay continues to scratch at the narrator’s fractured sense of self . . . Pleasures abound, such as the narrator’s hair-raising escapes, descriptions of the Boss’s hokey bar, and thoughtful references to Fanon and Césaire. Nguyen continues to delight.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The conflicted spy of Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Sympathizer returns, embroiled in Paris’s criminal underworld . . . The pages are rife with prostitutes, drugs, and, in the late pages, gunplay. But, as in The Sympathizer, Nguyen keeps the thriller-ish aspects at a low boil, emphasizing a mood of black comedy driven by the narrator’s intellectual crisis . . . Nguyen is deft at balancing his hero’s existential despair with the lurid glow of a crime saga. A quirky intellectual crime story that highlights the Vietnam War’s complex legacy.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Undeniably erudite and culturally fluent as ever—interweaving history, philosophy, political treatise, theology, even literary criticism—Nguyen effortlessly enhances the story with snarky commentary, sly judgments, and plenty of wink-wink-nod-nod posturing to entertain committed readers.”—Terry Hong, Booklist

“Call The Committed many things. A white hot literary thriller disguised as a searing novel of ideas. An unflinching look at redemption and damnation. An unblinking examination of the dangers of belief, and the need to believe. A sequel that goes toe to toe with the original then surpasses it. A masterwork.”—Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

The Committed is nothing short of revelatory. As it haunts, bifurcates, and envelops us in its illumination of all that we have failed to notice about the far reaches of colonization, we are also thrilled by its many turns and charms. This book is fierce, and unrelentingly good. Hilarious and subversive, philosophical and hallucinatory, it is much more than a sequel, more like a necessary appendage in a brilliant and expansive anti-colonial body of work, from the twisted and playful mind of the one and only Viet Thanh Nguyen. Bravo.”Tommy Orange, New York Times-bestselling author of There There

“This follow-up to his seminal The Sympathizer is Nguyen at his most ambitious and bold. Fierce in tone, capacious, witty, sharp, and deeply researched, The Committed marks, not just a sequel to its groundbreaking predecessor, but a sum total accumulation of a life devoted to Vietnamese American history and scholarship. This novel, like all daring novels, is a Trojan Horse, whose hidden power is a treatise of global futurity in the aftermath of colonial conquest. It asks questions central both to Vietnamese everywhere—and to our very species: How do we live in the wake of seismic loss and betrayal? And, perhaps even more critically, How do we laugh?”—Ocean Vuong, New York Times-bestselling author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

The Committed, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s furious and exhilarating sequel to The Sympathizer, is part gangster-thriller, part searing cultural analysis of the post-colonial predicament, seen through the eyes of a Vietnamese-French mixed race bastard double agent. Paris of forty years ago swirls to life around him, from intellectual salons to filthy toilets—with glimpses of everyone from Johnny Hallyday to Frantz Fanon to Julia Kristeva. Like Ellison’s Invisible Man, these novels will surely become classics.”—Claire Messud

“An elegy to idealism, Orientalism, and existentialism in all its tragic forms, Nguyen’s novel doesn’t so much inhabit early eighties Paris, as it pulls the plug on the City of Light. Think of The Committed as the declaration of the 20th ½ Arrondissement. A squatter’s paradise for those with one foot in the grave and the other shoved halfway up Western civilization’s ass.”—Paul Beatty

The Committed is a wonderful successor to The Sympathizer, a splendid tapestry of a novel, full of dubious but richly realized characters. It solidifies what we already know — Viet Thanh Nguyen is a gifted storyteller. It is difficult to know where to start with the praise. The characters have a sad and often tragic complexity, and the language offers a terrific ride for the reader. This is a grand novel full of breathtaking and luminous insights and a pure joy to read. Anticipation is why we come to a book, and joy is why we keep turning page after page. The Committed offers both, and so very much more.”—Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World

The Committed is a rich and exhilarating story of friendship, loyalty, and greed. Set in 1980s Paris, it follows the characters from The Sympathizer as they try to fashion new lives among all the wretched of the earth. Viet Thanh Nguyen gives us an unsparing look at the poisonous effects of ideology—whether colonialism, communism, or capitalism—even as he explores the deep-seated need we all have to believe in something. A deep, compelling and humorous portrait of how we are shaped by fictions others have for us.”—Laila Lalami, author of The Other Americans, finalist for the National Book Award

“Viet Thanh Nguyen’s return to the novel five years after his landmark debut, The Sympathizer, has along the way included a National Book Award finalist book of cultural history and reckoning, a book of short stories, a co-authored children’s book, all manner of engagement and support of other writers’ work, especially those of the Vietnamese refugee diaspora, and a series of astute, compelling op-ed critiques of US culture and politics. His much-anticipated return to the novel brings him back to the story begun in The Sympathizer, an act of risk and daring—given how singularly brilliant that book was. The Committed picks up where its predecessor left off in a freestanding work (you needn’t have read the earlier) that is every much its equal, and then some, in daring, suspense, literary mastery. We are in refugee and another layer of exile territory again, this time Paris, with a life that at first is less fraught then becomes taut, commerce and attendant dealings and betrayals there at the telltale heart of things. So much gets said here, in the best possible ways. Viet Thanh Nguyen has done it again.”—Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle)

“You wouldn’t think Viet Thanh Nguyen could match the brilliance of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer, but his latest book The Committed is a dazzling follow-up and a glorious novel in its own right. Our nameless protagonist is now in Paris, wandering amid its metropolitan delights even as he can’t escape his tortured past. Ngyuen contrasts high-minded interior monologues against gritty immigrant Paris, making The Committed both a virtuosic philosophical novel and a racing story of revenge and betrayal. I can’t think of a novel that has so deftly blended literary style and emotional heft since Midnight’s Children.”David Enyeart, Next Chapter Books (Saint Paul, MN)

Praise for Viet Thanh Nguyen:

“One of our great chroniclers of displacement . . . All Nguyen’s fiction is pervaded by a shared intensity of vision, by stinging perceptions that drift like windblown ashes.”—Joyce Carol Oates, New Yorker

“A layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a ‘man of two minds’—and two countries, Vietnam and the United States.”—Pulitzer Prize Citation for The Sympathizer

“Remarkable . . . His book fills a void in the literature, giving voice to the previously voiceless . . . Compares favorably with masters like Conrad, Greene, and le Carré . . . An absurdist tour de force that might have been written by a Kafka or Genet.”—Philip Caputo, New York Times Book Review (cover review), on The Sympathizer

“Intelligent, relentlessly paced and savagely funny . . . The voice of the double-agent narrator, caustic yet disarmingly honest, etches itself on the memory.”—Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal, “Best Books of the Year,” on The Sympathizer

“A fast-paced, entertaining read . . . A much-needed Vietnamese perspective on the war.”—Bill Gates, Gates Notes, on The Sympathizer

“Extraordinary . . . Surely a new classic of war fiction . . . I haven’t read anything since Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four that illustrates so palpably how a patient tyrant, unmoored from all humane constraint, can reduce a man’s mind to liquid.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post, on The Sympathizer

“We’ve never had a story quite like this one before . . . Mr. Nguyen is a master of the telling ironic phrase and the biting detail, and the book pulses with Catch-22-style absurdities.”—Sarah Lyall, New York Times, on The Sympathizer

“Beautifully written and meaty . . . I had that kid-like feeling of being inside the book.”—Claire Messud, Boston Globe, on The Sympathizer

“Thrilling in its virtuosity, as in its masterly exploitation of the espionage-thriller genre . . . The book’s (unnamed) narrator speaks in an audaciously postmodernist voice, echoing not only Vladimir Nabokov and Ralph Ellison but the Dostoyevsky of Notes from the Underground.”—Joyce Carol Oates, New Yorker, on The Sympathizer

“Gleaming and uproarious, a dark comedy of confession filled with charlatans, delusionists and shameless opportunists . . . The Sympathizer, like Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, examines American intentions, often mixed with hubris, benevolence and ineptitude, that lead the country into conflict.”—Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, on The Sympathizer

“Dazzling . . . A fascinating exploration of personal identity, cultural identity, and what it means to sympathize with two sides at once.”—John Powers, Fresh Air, NPR, “Books I Wish I’d Reviewed,” on The Sympathizer

“As a writer, [Nguyen] brings every conceivable gift―wisdom, wit, compassion, curiosity―to the impossible yet crucial work of arriving at what he calls ‘a just memory’ of this war.”―Kate Tuttle, Los Angeles Times, on Nothing Ever Dies

“Nguyen’s lucid, arresting, and richly sourced inquiry, in the mode of Susan Sontag and W. G. Sebald, is a call for true and just stories of war and its perpetual legacy.”―Donna Seaman, Booklist, on Nothing Ever Dies (starred review)

“A beautiful collection that deftly illustrates the experiences of the kinds of people our country has, until recently, welcomed with open arms . . . An urgent, wonderful collection that proves that fiction can be more than mere storytelling—it can bear witness to the lives of people who we can’t afford to forget.”—Michael Schaub, NPR Books, on The Refugees

“This is an important and incisive book written by a major writer with firsthand knowledge of the human rights drama exploding on the international stage–and the talent to give us inroads toward understanding it . . . It is refreshing and essential to have this work from a writer who knows and feels the terrain on an intellectual, emotional and cellular level–it shows . . . An exquisite book.”—Megan Mayhew Bergman, Washington Post, on The Refugees

“Confirms Nguyen as an agile, trenchant writer, able to inhabit a number of contrary points of view. And it whets your appetite for his next novel.”—Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times, on The Refugees

“A short-story collection mostly plumbing the experience of boat-bound Vietnamese who escaped to California . . . Ultimately, Nguyen enlarges empathy, the high ideal of literature and the enemy of hate and fear.”—Boris Kachka, New York, on The Refugees

“The book we need now . . . The most timely short story collection in recent memory . . . Throughout, Nguyen demonstrates the richness of the refugee experience, while also foregrounding the very real trauma that lies at its core.”—Doree Shafrir, BuzzFeed, on The Refugees