28 March 2024, 19:00

Viet Thanh Nguyen on A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial

Join us for an evening with Pultizer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, as he discusses his inventive and moving memoir A Man of Two Faces. In conversation with Adam Biles.

Free & open to all. Places limited. Arrive early to avoid disappointment.

*

With insight, humor, formal invention, and lyricism, in A Man of Two Faces Viet Thanh Nguyen rewinds the film of his own life. He expands the genre of personal memoir by acknowledging larger stories of refugeehood, colonization, and ideas about Vietnam and America, writing with his trademark sardonic wit and incisive analysis, as well as a deep emotional openness about his life as a father and a son.

At the age of four, Nguyen and his family are forced to flee his hometown of Ban Mê Thuột and come to the USA as refugees. After being removed from his brother and parents and homed with a family on his own, Nguyen is later allowed to resettle into his own family in suburban San José. But there is violence hidden behind the sunny façade of what he calls AMERICATM. One Christmas Eve, when Nguyen is nine, while watching cartoons at home, he learns that his parents have been shot while working at their grocery store, the SàiGòn Mới, a place where he sometimes helps price tins of fruit with a sticker gun. Years later, as a teenager, the blood-stirring drama of the films of the Vietnam War such as Apocalypse Now throw Nguyen into an existential crisis: how can he be both American and Vietnamese, both the killer and the person being killed? When he learns about an adopted sister who has stayed back in Vietnam, and ultimately visits her, he grows to understand just how much his parents have left behind. And as his parents age, he worries increasingly about their comfort and care, and realizes that some of their older wounds are reopening.

Profound in its emotions and brilliant in its thinking about cultural power, A Man of Two Faces explores the necessity of both forgetting and of memory, the promises America so readily makes and breaks, and the exceptional life story of one of the most original and important writers working today.

*

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and numerous other awards. His most recent publication is A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial. His other books are the sequel to The Sympathizer, The Committed; a short story collection, The Refugees; Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction); and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He has also published Chicken of the Sea, a children’s book written in collaboration with his son, Ellison. He is a University Professor at the University of Southern California. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, he is also the editor of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives.

"This book belongs with James Baldwin, Claude Brown, Maxine Hong Kingston, and other writers whose memoirs take apart ‘the American Dream’ with laser precision."

— Susan Straight, author of Mecca
Viet Thanh Nguyen blue bust up feature qalkhn3ktk99jc0530stqiq0t77m8z2lbzb1kldgda
“Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.”
JAMES JOYCE, ULYSSES

Dear Customers,

Website orders and inquiries are processed from Monday to Friday.

Books listed on the website are not necessarily in stock at the bookshop and may need to be ordered.

Thank you for your understanding ❤️

Chers clients,

Les commandes de la librairie sont traitées du lundi au vendredi.

Les livres répertoriés sur le site ne sont pas forcément en stock à la librairie et doivent être commandés.

Merci pour votre compréhension ❤️