How readable is it? I know it’s really long, but is it an arduous 1.2K pages? Or does it go down relatively smoothly? I’m up for a challenge and will finish it if I start it, but it’d be nice to know what I’m getting into before committing.
It starts slow first couple hundred pages, as you might expect, but it picks up quick. I devoured the whole thing in like 10 days while I was in Rome and should have been doing anything but that (going to Rome is a big deal for a USonian like me). That’s what my “soap opera” description was meant to evoke.
I’m a slow reader, especially if its for fun, but I did finish The Sympathizer and despite a bit of a lull in the middle, after finishing it I can confidently say it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read
The ending is kind of left-field and very dark, but the last few pages gave me that crazy energy and sense of the manifold possibilities of the written word in a way I haven’t experienced since I was a precocious youth, a feeling I would normally associate with those formative books that imprint themselves in your brain and become a part of you, but since all this happens when you’re 16 (or whatever) you later realize are kind of crappy. But because I’m a grown ass adult I know that this one is for real.
Seriously: It’s required reading.
I feel like those are always the best reading experiences. I had a similar one with Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon. I ended up reading the whole thing in two weeks over winter break from college when I also should’ve been doing something way less academic. But that’s probably my fondest holistic reading experience… it snowing outside, the quality of the light given off by this weird shade-less lamp I was reading by, looking up all the references (I think that book taught me how to read tougher stuff). It was really nice. Makes me sad I may never have an opportunity to fully immerse myself in a book like that again. Guess I gotta get to Rome!
Greatest city I’ve ever been in.
This is a heavily biased opinion.
finished Endymion recently and was into it. i love how much stuff goes on in these books
Gonna reiterate that I felt the same way – that book is one of the best I’ve ever read and I didn’t think I’d get to read a book that literally changed the way I think about myself and my heritage as an adult
And out comes The Sympathizer and it just fucking haymakers me
I can’t recommend it enough
read fanon’s BLACK SKIN WHITE MASKS about two and a half years ago and it went mostly over my head in contrast to WRETCHED, so im reading it again! and it’s got me fucked up!
haunting and rightfully paranoid thought on anti-blackness as “psycho-existential structure”, and for a psych h8r like myself an inspired bit of disciplinary criticism (from the vantage of the behaviourist turn, eyeing both philosophy and methods, with an absolutely cutting bit on adlerian psychoanalysis as a way of laundering and privatising general dishonour towards the end) and an example of what fanon himself calls “methodological dereliction”
edit i read the back half too fast in one sitting without properly digesting it and now im overwhelmed and want to die
I’m super glad I’m not alone, honestly want everyone in my life to read this.
As a big-time outsider to anything Vietnam related who has nevertheless spent a moderate amount of time in Vietnamese-heavy parts of Southern California (where a lot of this book is set), this book was a major eye-opener. Even though it never feels like an info-dump, there is a lot of history in the book and the perspective it offers is stellar.
I do kind of want to know how this would read to someone who already knew a lot about Vietnamese history. Before finishing this I also listened to a book on tape version of a novel set in contemporary Taiwan, and it was an interesting counterpoint to this because I thought all of the “educational” parts of the book were very bland and superficial, but perhaps if I knew any better I’d have similar thoughts about The Sympathizer.
Also has a lot to say about academia and the role of the Western academy in the study of other regions and cultures, and hence was the cause of some major navel gazing for me too.
Anyway @spacetown I’m curious to hear more of your thoughts on it if you want to share but in the mean time every other SiBling should read it too
I must say I am quite enjoying The Three Musketeers.
I need to get back to that. I’ve previously said that I tend to only read maybe a third of serialized novels before putting them down for no reason and that’s exactly what happened with the Three Musketeers. Which version are you reading? I’m reading the Pevear translation, though I’ve also heard the original Barrow translation is quite good as well.
Unfortunately this public domain version I downloaded from Amazon makes no mention at all of who did the translation. This leads me to assume probably Barrow
I recently re-read two different Animorphs books - The Andalite Chronicles and Visser. Both were… actually very good YA space opera novels! Animorphs will always be cool.
Visser was narrated by an alien brain parasite who landed on earth and infested a cocaine-addicted young wannabe-actress in LA, then “upgraded” by forcing her host to drown in a pool, while an accomplice held down a university professor, so she (the parasite) could swim into the professor’s ear and take her over. Then she started a scientology-style cult to find humans who would easily surrender their free will to her.
These books are fucked!
i’m up to like chapter 6 of Nausicaä and i’m pretty into how far it goes beyond the film. still wondering what’s gonna happen with the God Warrior but i’m liking all the extra character development and spiritual stuff
also the art is intense, and i’m slowly learning kana from the sound effects
So I went to the local library and took out The Sympathizer based on the good talk here. I liked it. I mean, I didn’t have the whole “change the way I look at writing and the world in general” response or anything, but it kept me invested throughout and made me think about a region and people I honestly hadn’t devoted much thought to previously. That feels pretty worthwhile.
The End of Mr. Y is… not very good. Way too much chaff and every time someone mention a concept you know there is an explanation just after that. You mention Eisntein? Here are two pages about relativity. Homeopathy? Hope you like these pages about its story. A mobius strip? Yeah…
I am in a book club, and no one (not even the person who proposed this book) seems very happy about it. It doesn’t help that Roadside Picnic was the previous book, which tells more in a third of pages. Everyone else found too grim for their tastes (I really love it), but at least both prose and pacing were on point.
As a side note, I wanted to propose something by Miguel Delibes, but there is only one novel translated to english. And is this real? Like really? Neither “The Holy Innocents” or “The Rats” are translated? Woah.
EDIT: I’ve just realised the pun in “The End of Mr. Y.” FFS
Finally got around to finishing High Rise now that I have work breaks to read during. That’s a pretty goofy book.
the hilbilly elegy sucks
The guy who wrote the hillbilly elegy comes from a pretty upper class background, and there are a lot of parts of the hillbilly elegy that read as someone valuing the poor for only having something the rich do not - and quite a lot of the book still goes into how he sees the area the book primarily covers as being backwards and undereducated as if it is a part of their own
it also massively discounts the presence of leftists in southern and rural communities going back generations and writes off massive amounts of class-consciousness as nothing more than a distraction