Viet Thanh Nguyen on the Ghosts that Haunt our Cultural Past (Replay)
It’s been announced! Writer Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Sympathizer” (2015) is now getting the prestige TV treatment on HBO’s newly rebranded Max streaming service.
To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we revisit our interview with Nguyen. In it, he talks about not just “The Sympathizer,” but about growing up in the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam, and how writing and reading helped him cope with its many challenges. He breaks down how his work takes on issues of cultural representation in American pop culture and literature.
“The Sympathizer” stars Hoa Xuande (“Cowboy Bebop”) as a spy for North Vietnam who becomes embedded in L.A.’s refugee community. The miniseries adaptation is described as “an espionage thriller and cross-culture satire about the struggles of a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist spy during the final days of the Vietnam War and his resulting exile in the United States.” The cast includes executive producer Robert Downey, Jr., Fred Nguyen Khan, Toan Le, Vy Le, Alan Trong, Vy Le, Ky Duyen and Sandra Oh.