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The Prospect short story: The Americans by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author's story follows an ageing African-American ex-soldier who fought in Vietnam grappling with his demons

PORTRAIT OF VIET THANH NGUYEN © DAVID LEVENSON/GETTY IMAGES. ILLUSTRATION © DALBERA/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, HBPRO/SHUTTERSTOCK, DMITRI MA/SHUTTERSTOCK, TANATAT/SHUTTERSTOCK

Viet Thanh Nguyen, who arrived in America as a Vietnamese child refugee in 1975, is an academic who has written on the cultural depictions of the Vietnam War. Nguyen’s first novel, The Sympathizer, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. His new collection is The Refugees (Corsair), from which this story is taken. Nguyen says of “The Americans”: “I wanted to test the limits of my empathy by writing a story about someone…

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