Today I finished The Sympathizer, another of the books I discovered via the bookshop in Suvarbharmi Airport. It was really strong, even if the last chapters seemed to fade in strength – or perhaps that was my own fatigue.
The Sympathizer is about a double agent in the South Vietnamese secret police, eventually escaping to America and then being drawn back to Vietnam. There’s a detour to the Philippines for a (very) thinly veiled allegory for Apocalypse Now, and after that the book does run out of steam a little, before ending in a meditation on the nature of revolutions.
The story is written as a confession to an unseen commissar (only at the denouement does the significance of this become clear) and while it is about Vietnam, the references to American policy, both foreign and domestic, appear again and again. (I’d quote liberally from it now, bit too tired to type it up right now.)
So, a definite recommendation. As you’d expect for a Pulitzer winner. Not a cheery bedtime read though…