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The Sympathizer

30 Jul 2017

Again on my search for things to read I went back to books that have won prizes and came up with The Sympathizer the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. A story told with a nonlinear timeline, unfolding details about who and what the narrator is, a fiction which could very well have been fact. The language is literary almost too at fault at times. Yet the overall piece once everything is unfolded makes complete sense given all you learn.

There is much in this book about identity, culture, and belonging to a community. Along with all these themes are the opposites experienced by their loss. I think this book really is one about feelings of loss and grief, however in the end we are left with a sense that this is life.

To live was to be haunted by the inevitability of one's own decay, and to be dead was to be haunted by the memory of living.

At certain times depending on where you find yourself on the roller coaster of emotions you can feel envy for the dead

All of us who are living are dying. The only ones not dying are the dead.

Whether you feel that way or not, the author makes a character who most people probably cannot find any surface level similarity to relateable. Perhaps it is the continual search for identity and understanding personified in

This is most crucial, for we are the ones most able to know ourselves and yet the most unable to know ourselves.

I highly recommend this book, even if it is difficult to get through at times. The language comes across as written by a non-native speaker which I believe is true. I say that only because there are a fair amount of words that I had to look up because I find well educated non-native speakers sometimes have overly developed vocabularies. Not that they use the wrong words, just that they use the exactly correct specific word where a lesser writer might use something more general. Nonetheless, I understand why it won the Pulitzer.


Category: book