Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Viet Thanh Nguyen Shares Six of His Favorite Listens

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen shares the listens that move and inspire him.

Award-winning fiction author Viet Thanh Nguyen understands the power of words. His newest novel, The Committed, exemplifies his masterful storytelling—told from a nuanced Vietnamese-American perspective and channeled by master performer Francois Chau—in a compulsive thriller-hybird that’s a direct sequel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning debut, The Sympathizer. But not only does Nguyen write standout works, he listens to them as well. Here are his favorite fiction and history listens.

Invisible Man

I had read Ellison’s classic novel a couple of times before, but Joe Morton’s masterful performance of the different dialects of Black English added a new dimension to the book for me.

My Brilliant Friend

If you like this first novel in Ferrante’s Neapolitan tetralogy, you’ll like the rest. And what’s not to like? An emotionally textured, close-up account of the deep friendship and rivalry between two childhood friends that extends into their adult years.

The Moor's Account

An outstanding historical novel that gives us a lush rendition of a conquistador’s expedition to America in 1527, told from the point of view of a slave, the first Black explorer of what was, to the Spaniards, a new world.

Pachinko

Lee’s beloved Pachinko is about Koreans who migrate to Japan and work their way up to owning pachinko parlors. It’s a novel that is sweeping in historical scope and also deeply moving and compelling to read (or listen to).

Shuggie Bain

I wanted to listen to this book because I wanted to hear the accents of this Scottish world. You will root for Shuggie as he struggles to make his way through a lonely childhood and adolescence, but what is surprising is that you will root for his mother, the hopelessly alcoholic Agnes, too.

Blood in the Water

This history won the Pulitzer Prize and it deserves it. Thompson’s book is a gripping, enraging account of the Attica uprising and the consequences that would reverberate for decades.

Invisible Man

I had read Ellison’s classic novel a couple of times before, but Joe Morton’s masterful performance of the different dialects of Black English added a new dimension to the book for me.

My Brilliant Friend

If you like this first novel in Ferrante’s Neapolitan tetralogy, you’ll like the rest. And what’s not to like? An emotionally textured, close-up account of the deep friendship and rivalry between two childhood friends that extends into their adult years.

The Moor's Account

An outstanding historical novel that gives us a lush rendition of a conquistador’s expedition to America in 1527, told from the point of view of a slave, the first Black explorer of what was, to the Spaniards, a new world.

Pachinko

Lee’s beloved Pachinko is about Koreans who migrate to Japan and work their way up to owning pachinko parlors. It’s a novel that is sweeping in historical scope and also deeply moving and compelling to read (or listen to).

Shuggie Bain

I wanted to listen to this book because I wanted to hear the accents of this Scottish world. You will root for Shuggie as he struggles to make his way through a lonely childhood and adolescence, but what is surprising is that you will root for his mother, the hopelessly alcoholic Agnes, too.

Blood in the Water

This history won the Pulitzer Prize and it deserves it. Thompson’s book is a gripping, enraging account of the Attica uprising and the consequences that would reverberate for decades.

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