Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen My rating: 3 of 5 stars The ambition and audacity of this Pulitzer-prize-winning 2015 novel can't be denied. Synthesizing postcolonial theory with the tradition of the Great American Novel, Nguyen retells the story of the Vietnam War and its aftermath from the perspective of—not quite one of its victims, … Continue reading Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer

Wesley Yang, The Souls of Yellow Folk

The Souls of Yellow Folk by Wesley Yang My rating: 4 of 5 stars It was once a pop-socio-psychological commonplace of American foreign-policy commentary that terrorism on behalf of political Islam was motivated less by ideology and more by an intractable reality of gender: young men with no prospects in their societies will inevitably become … Continue reading Wesley Yang, The Souls of Yellow Folk

Richard E. Kim, The Martyred

The Martyred by Richard E. Kim My rating: 4 of 5 stars Richard E. Kim's The Martyred was published to great sales and acclaim in 1964. It dominated the bestseller list, earned comparisons to Camus and Dostoevsky, and boasted blurbs from Pearl S. Buck and Philip Roth. Kim was born in what is now North … Continue reading Richard E. Kim, The Martyred

Gish Jen, The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap

The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap by Gish Jen My rating: 3 of 5 stars One time, teaching a course on the graphic novel, I described the differences in artistic form and storytelling technique between manga and Western comics. A student raised her hand and offered the opinion that the … Continue reading Gish Jen, The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap

Eugene Lim, Dear Cyborgs

Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim My rating: 4 of 5 stars The novel, unfortunately, waits until we have gotten the point before it decides to explain itself: (When I say cyborgs, of course I mean us.) […] (Some seem unaccepting of this transformation, and it indeed has been gradual. In a sense it began when … Continue reading Eugene Lim, Dear Cyborgs