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Publisher's Summary

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.

This audiobook is a sequel to The Sympathizer.  

Copyright © 2021 by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. Epigraph by Rithy Panh with Christophe Bataille, excerpted from The Elimination, translated by John Cullen. Copyright © 2014 by Rithy Panh. Reprinted by permission of Other Press. “Seasons in the Sun.” Written by Jacques Brel and Rod McKuen. Published by Edward B. Marks Music Company (BMI). All rights administered by Round Hill Carlin, LLC. “Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi.” Words and Music by Jacques Dutronc and Jacques Lanzmann. Copyright (c) 1966 Alpha Editions Musicales. Copyright Renewed. All Rights Administered by BMG Rights Management (US) LLC. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. Reprinted by Permission of Hal Leonard LLC. 

©2021 (see above) (P)2021 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Committed

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Clever, Ironic, Repetitive

As of today, March 5, 2021, I do not see any written reviews. Am I the first? I came to look at reviews to see if anyone else had the same or similar reaction to Nguyen’s latest novel, “The Committed.” Am I the first to post one? That’s a lot of pressure for a mere mortal. What if I piss everyone off? What if everyone agrees with me? I have two minds I guess. I can see both sides of an issue just like our long-suffering narrator. Well, here goes....

If this is to become a trilogy, I’m likely to skip part three because the second novel is mostly a reiteration of the first one—different location; different characters give or take; and different circumstances. However, these conditions all act in concert to convey the philosophical musings presented in “The Sympathizer.” The danger. The angst. The betrayals. The violence. The comedy. Yes, so much of the action is comical in its over-the-top gruesomeness. Viet Thanh Nguyen can play with words like no one I’ve encountered recently in contemporary fiction. Using words that have several different meanings and them using all the meanings to convey a sense of chaos, confusion, and contradiction is very crafty on his part. But to what end when the message contained within is very similar to the themes of the first novel?

Francois Chau is excellent as the narrator returning from his expert handling of The Sympathizer. He sounds entirely natural as though he’s telling you his story. At times there are slight fumbles or hesitations over words and often he speeds up unnecessarily but all of these missteps make his narration all the more natural doing a great job conveying a torn man whose life has been put asunder by events beyond his control. Trying to be a decent human being is trying indeed.

Still, I am sorry to say, nothing really new came along. However, insofar, as irritating exposition, that was handled deftly and there was not a heavy-handed condescending approach to making sure the reader/listener remembered the details and characters from the earlier novel. I’ve read several sequels that spend nearly a third of the book literally reminded you of all of these details. That’s annoying as I wouldn’t be reading part 2, if I didn’t already know about part 1.

Ultimately I was entertained but not moved with this novel whereas the opposite reaction was evoked in me with The Sympathizer.

38 people found this helpful

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Redundant/anti-white/boring plot

What else can I say? The exposition of colonialism again, again, and again. White people bad. The actual plot was so cliche and uninteresting. You have to be committed to finishing this crap.

24 people found this helpful

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My take on The Committed.

Highly literary, but somewhat repetitive on the philosophical aspect. I understand that it’s not about the story, but more story and less pontificating would have made it a more interesting read. And the philosophy would garner more attention.

13 people found this helpful

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Reached me in a way Pynchon never could.

Really brings home the difference between political theory and practice. The setting is wonderfully immersive, the details telling.
Francois Chau is somehow perfect as the narrator.

11 people found this helpful

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Not as good as the Sympathizer

I really liked the first book. It is a good combination of philosophy/politics and plot. This one his not balanced. There is not enough plot but relies on the plot of the first book too much. Both have very good writing and I like the narrator but I can see why some folks don’t.

11 people found this helpful

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BEAUTIFUL PROSE DEEPLY ENGAGING

An engaging if ponderous story of the human context of the French colonial exploitation in Vietnam and some of Algeria. Pleasant listen and excellent performance!

It was for me the more engaging having read some on the French occupations in Southeast Asia and Algeria. This—in a few metaphors—added a delicious flavor to the protagonists’ descriptive palette.

This story was told as part memoir of an ex-spy during the struggles w the French and US and part his present struggles as a refugee set in Paris in the 1980s. Still, there is action and intrigue. The setting and the nuanced, beautiful prose is unique, engaging and genius.

Yes, definitely listen to this novel! I will listen a second time; a keeper!

9 people found this helpful

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Kudos

Revealing ourselves to ourselves. Brilliant. Lovely. Difficult. Painful. I honor all you have been through enabling you to give to us, the readers, these revelations. Thank you.

8 people found this helpful

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Sophomoric effort

After the brilliant Sympathizer, it was always going to be tough for a sequel to match. Viet Thanh draws us into 1980s Paris from the vantage of Vietnamese refugee gangsters. As before, morals, philosophy, politics, history and race super collide. It's about as uneven a premise as it sounds. Without a love interest & too long in the tooth in many sections, the meandering story stagnates. The narrator can barely make out the Vietnamese names, but is clearly fluent in French. You have to be committed to this world to see it through. Still looking forward to the author's next outing on the strength of Sympathizer.

6 people found this helpful

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great sequel to The sympathizer

be sure to do the sympathizer first. there are not words to describe how phenomenal this writer is. and I could not imagine a better narrator for these books

5 people found this helpful

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Great narrator

At first the narrator wasn’t what I expected. He sounded older and had a slight accent; but within a half hour I felt like he was perfect for the role. I felt every line from the book like it was from the man of two minds himself.

3 people found this helpful