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Viet Thanh Nguyen Memoir 'A Man of Two Faces' Releases Today

A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, a History, a Memorial, the new book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen arrives from Grove City Press on October 3. 

Described by the Star Tribune as an "artfully intertwined medley of Nguyen's essays, lectures and interviews," the book has already been long-listed for the prestigious National Book Award for nonfiction. 

Viet Thanh Nguyen achieved international fame via his 2017 novel The Sympathizer which won the Pulitzer Prize and is currently being developed by HBO and A24 into a television series to be released in 2024. Since then, the University of Southern California professor has published two collections of non-fiction essays, a collection of short stories and 2021's The Committed, the second in the three-part Sympathizer series. 

A Man of Two Faces is a non-linear personal memoir filled with political commentary, according to Kirkus Reviews. In addition to detailing his family's departure from Vietnam in 1975 when he was four years old, his childhood in California and his experiences in academia it includes text arranged like poetry, photographs and a portion of a bad Amazon review. 

Fans of Nguyen's work will recognize some common themes in his memoir including discussions of race, identity, assimilation and violence in America. His interest in Hollywood's depictions of Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans loom with the publisher's description of the book noting: "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?"

Amongst the most acclaimed contemporary American writers, the book's release has enjoyed significant coverage including a recent article examining the design process behind the cover. Curious readers can check out an adapted section of the book recently published by The New Yorker or secure a digital edition from major online retailers.

[Book cover via Grove Atlantic]

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