Quotes from “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Анна П.
Анна П.has quoted2 years ago
Love is being able to talk to someone else without effort, without hiding, and at the same time to feel absolutely comfortable not saying a word.
alumno
alumnohas quoted2 months ago
No, we fought to the tunes of love songs, for we were the Italians of Asia.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
The Auteur grimaced and said, Very interesting. Great stuff. Loved it, but I had a question. What was it. Oh, yes. How many movies have you made. None. Isn’t that right. None, zero, zilch, nada, nothing, and however you say it in your language. So thank you for telling me how to do my job. Now get the hell out of my house and come back after you’ve made a movie or two. Maybe then I’ll listen to one or two of your cheap ideas.

Why was he so rude? Madame said. Didn’t he ask you to give him some comments?

He was looking for a yes man. He thought I’d give him a rubber stamp of approval.

He thought you were going to fawn over him.

When I didn’t do it, he was hurt. He’s an artist, he’s got thin skin.

So much for your career in Hollywood, the General said.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
me pointing out that the lack of speaking parts for Vietnamese people in a movie set in Vietnam might be interpreted as cultural insensitivity.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
I researched your country, my friend. I read Joseph Buttinger and Frances FitzGerald. Have you read Joseph Buttinger and Frances FitzGerald. He’s the foremost historian on your little part of the world. And she won the Pulitzer Prize. She dissected your psychology. I think I know something about you people.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
You’re the first Vietnamese I’ve ever met. Not too many of you in Hollywood. Hell, none of you in Hollywood. And authenticity’s important. Not that authenticity beats imagination. The story still comes first.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
Here I speak of those cartoons named Fu Manchu, Charlie Chan, Number One Son, Hop Sing—Hop Sing!—and the bucktoothed, bespectacled Jap not so much played as mocked by Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
Me, I left before that even got started. Maybe you can give some feedback. Otherwise who knows what kind of Hollywood story they’re going to make.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
I was careful, then, to present myself as just another immigrant, glad to be in the land where the pursuit of happiness was guaranteed in writing, which, when one comes to think about it, is not such a great deal.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
but since we were dependent on Chinese markets our food had an unacceptably Chinese tinge, another blow in the gauntlet of our humiliation that left us with the sweet-and-sour taste of unreliable memories, just correct enough to evoke the past, just wrong enough to remind us that the past was forever gone, missing along with the proper variety, subtlety, and complexity of our universal solvent, fish sauce.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
Yes, you! You must assiduously cultivate those reflexes that Americans have learned innately, in order to counterweigh your Oriental instincts.

I couldn’t help myself any longer. Like yin and yang?
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
You embody the symbiosis of Orient and Occident, the possibility that out of two can come one. We can no more separate the physical Oriental from you than we can separate the physical Occidental. Likewise with your psychic components. But while you are out of place today, in the future you will be the average!
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
They are not so different from yourself, also split down the middle. What, then, is the cure? Is the Oriental in the West to feel forever homeless, a stranger, a foreigner, no matter how many generations lived on the soil of Judeo-Christian culture, never able to do away with the Confucian residue of his ancient, noble heritage? This is where you, as the Amerasian, offer hope.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
identity suffered by Americans of Oriental ancestry, at least those born or raised here. They feel themselves out of place.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
Ah, the Amerasian, forever caught between worlds and never knowing where he belongs! Imagine if you did not suffer from the confusion you must constantly experience, feeling the constant tug-of-war inside you and over you, between Orient and Occident. “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,” as Kipling so accurately diagnosed.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
But I was also one of those unfortunate cases who could not help but wonder whether my need for American charity was due to my having first been the recipient of American aid.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
Not for the first time, I longed to tell someone that I was one of them, a sympathizer with the Left, a revolutionary fighting for peace, equality, democracy, freedom, and independence, all the noble things my people had died for and I had hid for.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
I returned to campus, however, the students were of a new breed, not interested in politics or the world like the previous generation. Their tender eyes were no longer exposed daily to stories and pictures of atrocity and terror for which they might have felt responsible, given that they were citizens of a democracy destroying another country in order to save it. Most important, their lives were no longer at stake because of the draft. The campus had, as a result, returned to its peaceful and quiet nature, its optimistic disposition marred only by the occasional spring shower thrumming on my office window.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
I was not privy to the conversations they must have had, but one day at the beginning of April I received an invitation to the grand opening of his new business on Hollywood Boulevard, a liquor store whose existence in the Cyclopean eye of the IRS meant that the General had finally conceded to a basic tenet of the American Dream.
bk572970
bk572970has quoted2 months ago
While I was used to such slings and arrows, the General was not. When we finally stopped outside our barracks, the expression on his face was one of horror. He was disheveled, the stars torn from his collar, his sleeves ripped, half his buttons gone, and bleeding from scratches on his cheek and neck. I can’t go in there like this, he whispered.
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