Ice Friday: Nguyen’s “The Sympathizer”

Some choice extracts from Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2015 eloquent novel:

Innocence and guilt. These are cosmic issues. We’re all innocent on one level and guilty on another. Isn’t that what Original Sin is all about? (103)

What if, I said to him, I wrote a screenplay about the American West and simply called all the natives Indians? You’d want to know whether the cavalry was fighting the Navajo or Apache or Comanche, right? Let me tell you a secret, the Auteur said. No one gives a shit (133)

I was suddenly aware of the outline of my body, of the sensation of the chair underneath my thighs, of the fragility of the force holding together y body and my life. It would not take much to destroy this force, which most of us took for granted until the moment we could not. (198)

The beautiful, transparent Stolichnaya maintained a stoic Russian demeanor as we regarded it in silence. Every bottle of alcohol has a message in it, a surprise that one will not discover until one drinks it. (213)

The only problem with not talking to oneself was that oneself was the most fascinating conversational partner one could imagine. Nobody had more patience in listening to oneself than oneself, and nobody knew better than oneself, nobody misunderstood than oneself. (248)