VoltVietnamese coffee rewards consumers with the perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness, but you have to win it for yourself. There is a risk of severe burns at first, and then when the black broth drips on the sugary condensed milk puddle for a few minutes, the process becomes a test of patience-the longer the coffee is pressed into the sieve, the harder it is. In “Die Idealisten”, the processing time of Vietnamese coffee marks the difference between life and death, the opportunity for in-depth analysis and the collapse of Wu Yusen’s memory action.
The person in charge is Viet Thanh Nguyen. He came to Pennsylvania with his family from Vietnamese refugees in 1975. Now he teaches English and comparative literature at the University of Southern California and won the 2016 award for his “Sympathizer” Pulitzer Prize For novels. Among them, a Communist spy disguised as an adjutant flew from Saigon to Los Angeles in the final stage of the Vietnam War, from where he sent encrypted messages to his comrades returning home, always vigilant so as not to arouse suspicion of his general. During this period, he assisted an arrogant young director to film the Vietnam War epic, and eventually survived the communist re-education camp, where he wrote his life confession: the novel itself.
Man with two faces
“Die Idealisten” is a sequel, because of various flashbacks, it is not necessary to know the predecessor. This does not mean that it will not benefit from it. It all started again when the unnamed protagonist brought his blood brother Bang to Paris-Bang is an outspoken communist hater, ironically, he knew nothing about his friends’ espionage. In the next few months, he became involved in arguably the most capitalist of all economic sectors-the illegal drug trade.
Viet Thanh Nguyen has created one of the most fascinating fictional characters of the past few years with his spy, which applies to all genres. Born in North Vietnam and raised in South Vietnam, he was the son of a Vietnamese woman and a French priest, which earned him the unlovable nickname “lunatic”. A person with two faces often bursts into tears because his biggest problem is that he has sympathy for all parties: the sympathy of the communists, the sympathy of the capitalists, and-dealing with Parisian intellectuals, gratefully buy him His materials-including colonialist materials.
what to do
Critics have praised the “sympathizer” and now the “idealist” as prime examples of the use of unreliable narrators. It is questionable whether this category is really applicable. A few white lies? free. On the contrary, a spy is a well-known open book before us, full of contradictions and uncertainties.
“My years as a spy, sleeper, and mole put me under so much pressure that my screws are now worn out,” he mused. “As long as she tightens properly, my two souls can work well together. Now my screws go crazy-the general condition of humanity-no longer stuck.” In the end, whether a plot is in the eyes of a fictional character There is a bullet in the middle and the end is not important. More central is a philosophical question. The spy is at a loss in the face of all the choices in this world, and constantly confronts himself. He asks a simple question: What should a person do?
Not suitable for reading before going to bed
As the author of two extensive confessions, he must have found his own personal answer: writing. Then comes the next question: how to write? In any case, Viet Thanh Nguyen will not waste time on formalities. In his dialogue, he omitted the quotation marks. In his thoughts, he would sometimes be on five consecutive pages. According to his emotions and degree of drug use, his spy was sometimes me, then you, and finally Even for us, “idealist” means that reading before bed is basically unqualified.
The result is a comical stream of consciousness that keeps the reader engaged by cleverly playing with the rhythm. The keyword “Vietnamese coffee”. Unexpectedly, the most important thing is that Nguyen Thi slowed down and only pressed important information drop by drop through the violent moment of the sieve.
If the spy is the victim of a robbery by the rival Algerian drug mafia, or finds himself in the torture cellar with electrodes attached to his nipples, then his memory shows that the sacred mother to him is the only mother in the world He will try the French ideal of reconciling freedom, equality, fraternity and Franz Fanon’s anti-colonial thesis, and buy time until he has an acceptable answer. Like its optical equivalent, the literary slow motion highlights a big question Ruan passes directly to readers through spies: what to do?
Viet Thanh Nguyen: “Die Idealisten”. Rome. “The American” by Wolfgang Müller. Blessing Verlag, Munich 2021. 496 pages, hardcover, 24 euros.