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I read "The Sympathizer," first and I feel like "Nothing Ever Dies" is the book Việt Thanh Nguyễn actually wanted to write from the beginning. He spills his guts out in this book, which is very well referenced -essentially to the point of becoming a literature review.
He gives a new paradigm of ethics we can strive for as humanity and then goes deep into the factuals of the many wars in 20th century SE Asia.
I most enjoyed his explaining the problem of and solution to the rich nations' dominance of the industry of memories.
I liked his humor and that he pulls no punches on anyone.
What I least enjoyed: I think he struggles hard to overcome his bias as a South Vietnamese refugee. He almost does, but there are a few conclusions he draws about contemporary communist Vietnam that are neither nuanced, fair minded or accurate.
I like the comparison of little Saigon in California to a strategic hamlet.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I liked listening to The Sympathizer, and was hoping for more insight into the author with this book. First of all, the narrator is different, which I didn't really like. Second, the book is a very academic and thorough treatment of the subject (how we think of/remember war), with lots of analysis of related works (art, fiction, film, etc) - which I don't really appreciate. So- too many words for me. Too abstract.
On the other hand, he raises some interesting things to think about - leading us to examine the source of all our "noble" patriotism. And really, isn't it better that a book be unenjoyable, but leave you with a changed world view?