RaveAltaIn this sequel to The Sympathizer—his cerebral Pulitzer Prize–winning thriller—Nguyen turns his exacting eye and wit toward 1980s France, critiquing the ways the nation fails to grapple with its colonial past and struggles to integrate minorities ... Despite its abundance of critical theory, The Committed is anything but didactic. At times, it veers into the scatological, as in a running gag about the state of the toilet the narrator cleans in the worst Asian restaurant in Paris and the hilariously disgusting way he diverts the attention of a mistress to the Boss, a crime mogul ... Nguyen playfully subverts the tropes of crime novels, their stylized sex and violence ... Recently, French politicians and intellectuals warned that imported American progressive ideals threaten the country’s national unity, highlighting the ways the cultural questions raised in The Committed remain far from settled ... [A] trenchant novel.
PositiveSan Francisco ChronicleWith scathing wit, [Mehta] points out hypocrisies ... moves at a faster clip, with arguments backed by examples that skip from country to country within a single chapter. With this overview, he’s covering much ground, literal and historical, and some readers may wish Mehta could have lingered in places or followed the fates of migrants we meet only briefly ... As the country heads into the 2020 presidential election, Mehta’s moving, cogent book can help us find a way forward.
PositiveThe San Francisco ChronicleInseparable, Yunte Huang’s exuberant and vivid account of the \'original Siamese twins,\' examines 19th century American attitudes toward race and sex that resonate today — a time when immigrants, people of color, those with disabilities and others are denied their stories and denied their humanity ... A century and a half later, in the 1990s, a benevolent clerk in Alabama issued a business license to Huang, then \'a struggling foreign student\' who wanted to open a Chinese restaurant ... he [Huang] recounted how, as a child in China, he used to fantasize about living in a house on wheels, and when he arrived in America, such vehicles continued to fascinate him ... By sharing his own experiences, he reveals the poignant commonalities of immigrants across time and place, strangers making sense of a strange land, determined to make a better life for themselves and their children.