Viet Thanh Nguyen's award winning debut novel, The Sympathizer (2016), was probably "the" novel of 2016-winning the Pulitzer Prize as well as several others. The novel is noted for binary relationships throughout the novel: east-west, north-south Vietnam, double agent, communist-capitalist. The narrator is a half-French, half-Vietnamese intelligence officer for the South Vietnamese army who is also a mole for the North Vietnamese. His story is told in flashbacks and the opening sequences describe the fall of Saigon and his subsequent journey to Los Angeles in America where he continues his double role. At one point, he is hired as a consultant for a "Francis Ford Coppola-like" director who is producing an epic Vietnamese war movie. This section feels contrived since everyone knows what film he is drawing inspiration from in this section. He is involved in some counter-intelligence activities, which haunt him. He also has a couple of love affairs, first with an older Japanese American woman he works with and later his commanding General's head-strong daughter. The General orders him back to Vietnam to take part in guerilla fighting with the established Communist government and the book moves into its third section once he is captured. His capture is where Nguyen can delve into the torture legacy of the US and North Vietnamese-detailing the many ways that prisoners were psychologically and physically broken down. It is clear that Nguyen has done his research to inform the book with facts--for example a fictional US General states (like General Westmoreland in the seminal documentary Hearts and Minds), that the Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. He makes some good observations, for example: "Americans on the average do not trust intellectuals, but they are cowed by power and stunned by celebrity." It is an impressive debut and probably worthy of all the awards it has amassed-I have yet to read any other fiction published last year to compare it to though. Oh, and one more note on the novel, he writes that one refugee girl was brought to Spokane, Washington and sold into prostitution-which I take offense to since I am from there we had a Vietnamese family that was settled there and went to my private Catholic school-no prostitution was involved-an unlikely place for that anyway. I realize it's fiction, but come on give us a break.