A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial
by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Author)
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
The highly original, blistering, and unconventional memoir by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer, which has now sold over one million copies worldwide
With insight, humor, formal invention, and lyricism, in A Man of Two Faces Viet Thanh Nguyen rewinds the film of his own life. He expands the genre of personal memoir by acknowledging larger stories of refugeehood, colonization, and ideas about Vietnam and America, writing with his trademark sardonic wit and incisive analysis, as well as a deep emotional openness about his life as a father and a son.
At the age of four, Nguyen and his family are forced to flee his hometown of Ban Mê Thuột and come to the USA as refugees. After being removed from his brother and parents and homed with a family on his own, Nguyen is later allowed to resettle into his own family in suburban San José. But there is violence hidden behind the sunny façade of what he calls AMERICATM.
One Christmas Eve, when Nguyen is nine, while watching cartoons at home, he learns that his parents have been shot while working at their grocery store, the SàiGòn Mới, a place where he sometimes helps price tins of fruit with a sticker gun.
Years later, as a teenager, the blood-stirring drama of the films of the Vietnam War such as Apocalypse Now throw Nguyen into an existential crisis: how can he be both American and Vietnamese, both the killer and the person being killed? When he learns about an adopted sister who has stayed back in Vietnam, and ultimately visits her, he grows to understand just how much his parents have left behind. And as his parents age, he worries increasingly about their comfort and care, and realizes that some of their older wounds are reopening.
Profound in its emotions and brilliant in its thinking about cultural power, A Man of Two Faces explores the necessity of both forgetting and of memory, the promises America so readily makes and breaks, and the exceptional life story of one of the most original and important writers working today.
“Beautifully written and meaty . . . I had that kid-like feeling of being inside the book.”—Claire Messud, Boston Globe, on The Sympathizer
“Thrilling in its virtuosity, as in its masterly exploitation of the espionage-thriller genre . . . The book’s (unnamed) narrator speaks in an audaciously postmodernist voice, echoing not only Vladimir Nabokov and Ralph Ellison but the Dostoyevsky of Notes from the Underground.”—Joyce Carol Oates, New Yorker, on The Sympathizer
“Gleaming and uproarious, a dark comedy of confession filled with charlatans, delusionists and shameless opportunists . . . The Sympathizer, like Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, examines American intentions, often mixed with hubris, benevolence and ineptitude, that lead the country into conflict.”—Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, on The Sympathizer
“Dazzling . . . A fascinating exploration of personal identity, cultural identity, and what it means to sympathize with two sides at once.”—John Powers, Fresh Air, NPR, “Books I Wish I’d Reviewed,” on The Sympathizer
“As a writer, [Nguyen] brings every conceivable gift―wisdom, wit, compassion, curiosity―to the impossible yet crucial work of arriving at what he calls ‘a just memory’ of this war.”―Kate Tuttle, Los Angeles Times, on Nothing Ever Dies
“Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen returns with a deeply personal and political memoir that uses the defining moments of his own life to explore his conflicted relationship with America . . . A witty and scathing look at what it means to be a refugee, an immigrant, and an American in a world that doesn’t see you as you see yourself.”—TIME
“Collage may be an apt word to describe this genre-bending memoir from Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur fellow Viet Thanh Nguyen. Weaving together forms that include exquisite prose, verse and photographs, this masterful memoir follows the author and his family from their home country of Vietnam as they resettle in San Jose, including explosive revelations about family, memory and loss.”—Hannah Bae, Datebook
“In this memoir, Nguyen wrestles with his own family’s experience moving from Vietnam to California, violence and racism, and the burning question that so many face: who am I? Teeming with broader stories of immigration and cultural clashes, Nguyen once again offers a thrillingly nuanced portrait of the allegiances, complexities, and aims that guide a single life.”—Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review
“Nguyen explores ‘the thin border between / history and memory’ in this many-faceted, stylistically complex, eviscerating, and tender montage of memoir, facts, dissent, and clarification . . . A uniquely intricate, clarion, and far-reaching inquiry into what we disparage and what we value, asserting the bedrock necessity of history, story, and remembrance . . . Nguyen’s unflinching blend of memoir and social critique will garner avid attention.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
“Nguyen blazes a nonlinear, literary way through the histories of Vietnam and the US, his parents’ arduous lives in each and his own struggles to find his voice as citizen, son and writer.”—BookPage(starred review)
“A kaleidoscopic memoir . . . Deeply personal and intensely political . . . If the author’s criticism is understandably scathing, there is also a mischievous sense of humor . . . Nguyen indisputably captures the workings of a quicksilver and penetrating mind . . . Lyrical and biting, by one of our leading writers.”—Kirkus Reviews
Categories : Biographies & Memoirs of Asian & Asian American
ASIN : B0C15HPGRF
Publisher : Grove Press (October 3, 2023)
Publication date : October 3, 2023
Language : English
File size : EPUB, 2.16 MB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Print length : 341 pages