Thursday, September 22, 2016
Plot twists in The Sympathizer
As The Sympathizer moves along the unnamed narrator settles into his dismal life in LA, working as a clerk at a college, carrying on an unhappy affair with a colleague, an older woman, Japanese - we get the sense that there's no attraction or even liking there, just sexual satisfaction. The narrator makes a point of being a confirmed single guy - attributes that in part to the loneliness of his childhood and his outsider status as bastard son of a catholic priest. His "bachelorhood," to use an old term, puts him in the tradition of many noir detective heroes - but also makes him a difficult and less appealing character. We just don't know what makes him tick. We know he's a loyal spy for the VC, still communicating via an old friend who stayed in Vietnam with the new government and spying on Vietnamese exiles in the States - but why does he care so much? He doesn't seem like a man w/ values and ideals - more like a cynical, indifferent survivor, who would cut ties to the homeland rather than nurture them. And why is the new Vietnamese government so interested in the doings or exiles in the U.S.? Could that ragtag community really pose a threat? In any event, the narrator joins forces with the right-wing exiles, former military types, and gets involved in a plot to kill a supposed traitor (they know there's an informer among their group - but he steers them to the wrong guy; they don't know that the narrator's the informer - but will he have the capacity to assassinate the wrong guy? If he doesn't won't he be giving himself up?