When Viet Thanh Nguyen rocketed into the global literary pantheon last year with the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, it was only natural that publishers should start looking for other Vietnamese-born writers to join the bandwagon. Luckily, Nguyen’s publishers had the man himself on hand to supply them with a pocketful of short stories, until he comes through with a follow-up to the much lauded The Sympathizer.
If that sounds cynical, it’s not meant to. The Sympathizer is a bold, bright, ambitious and beautifully written book. Its coruscating light is inevitably going to put short stories in its shadow.