Quotes from “Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen

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.
finest coffee beans, land of booming waterfalls, of exasperated elephants
people who do not get the joke are dangerous people indeed.
I understand. Losing her hurts even if you didn’t love her. That’s human nature. You want her back. You don’t want to lose her to someone like me. But please, see it from my point of view. We didn’t plan anything. It’s just that when we started talking at the wedding, we couldn’t stop. 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. At least that’s one way I’ve figured out how to describe love. I’ve never been in love before. It leaves me with this strange need to find the right metaphor to describe being in love. Like I am a windmill, and she is the wind. Stupid, yes?
was unhappy, that might make some of you happier, but it would also make you uneasy, as no one is supposed to be unhappy in America. I believe our clever young man has intuited that while only the pursuit of happiness is promised to all Americans, unhappiness is guaranteed for many.
, because happiness, American style, is a zero-sum game, sir. Dr. Hedd slowly turned his head in an arc as he spoke, making sure that he saw every man in the room. For someone to be happy, he must measure his happiness against someone else’s unhappiness, a process which most certainly works in reverse. If I said I was happy, someone else must be unhappy, most likely one of you. But if I said I
Not only did Dr. Hedd have a measure of both, he also possessed an English accent, which affected Americans the way a dog whistle stimulated canines.
Americans on the average do not trust intellectuals, but they are cowed by power and stunned by celebrity.
I was in close quarters with some representative specimens of the most dangerous creature in the history of the world, the white man in a suit.
These questions required either Camus or cognac, and as Camus was not available I ordered cognac.
What am I dying for? he cried back. I’m dying because this world I’m living in isn’t worth dying for! If something is worth dying for, then you’ve got a reason to live.
They’re losers and losers always have excuses
Life’s a suicide mission.
After all, nothing was more American than wielding a gun and committing oneself to die for freedom and independence
Sometimes I feel a little foreign to myself as a result
that it’s impossible to live among a foreign people and not become changed by them
Disarming an idealist was easy. One only needed to ask why the idealist was not on the front line of the particular battle he had chosen.
I had hit him where it hurt, in the solar plexus of his conscience, where everyone who was an idealist was vulnerable.
Every full bottle of alcohol has a message in it, a surprise that one will not discover until one drinks it.
A nineteenth-century Russian novel and vodka accompanied each other perfectly. Reading a novel while one sipped vodka legitimized the drink, while the drink made the novel seem much shorter than it truly was
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