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On My Bookshelf with Morin Bishop: "The Committed" is Highly Entertaining and Wonderfully Readable

By Morin Bishop, lifetime writer and editor and current co-owner of Womrath Bookshop

June 2, 2021: Trying to adequately describe The Committed, the brilliant, new novel from Viet Thanh Nguyen, is a fool’s errand, if ever there was one. This a book of big ideas circling around the tortured history between France, the U.S., and Vietnam: colonialism versus the colonized, communism versus capitalism, ideology versus cynicism, commitment versus apathy, God versus nothingness. It is also a thriller, with our narrator, a half-French half-Vietnamese self-described “bastard,” facing near-certain death many, many times as he navigates Paris in the early ‘80s—this after escaping from a reeducation camp in Vietnam, where he was tortured despite his work as a communist double agent for much of the war that so ravaged his native land. Lest this sounds too terribly serious, I should mention that this book is also frequently—very frequently—laugh-out loud funny, driven by our narrator’s mordant, self-deprecating wit.

This is serious, literary fiction that also manages to be highly entertaining and wonderfully readable. Gifted writer Claire Messud describes the work as “furious and exhilarating” and says of this novel and its predecessor, Pulitzer-Prize winner The Sympathizer: “Like [Ralph] Ellison’s Invisible Man, these novels will surely become classics.” High praise, indeed, and well deserved. Don’t miss the chance to read a writer likely to establish himself in the decades ahead as one of this century’s greatest.

Photo: Shutterstock

Compass - Zorilla, 52 Alder Lane, up May 19, 2021

Arts Directory

Bronxville Public Library
Bronxville Public Library

The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.

The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.

The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children. All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.

The Bronxville Public Library
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)
914-337-7680

Concordia Conservatory
Concordia Conservatory

Concordia Conservatory, a preeminent center for music education in Westchester County, is a welcoming community where children and adults find lifelong inspiration and joy through learning, performing, listening to, and participating with others in music. Concordia Conservatory, a community outreach division of Concordia College, offers top quality music programs for early childhood, youth, adults and seniors. The Conservatory's vision is to enrich the lives of the people in our community through music.

Executive Director: Kathleen Suss
Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art

171 White Plains Rd
Bronxville, NY
914-395-4507

Fine Arts Gallery of Bronxville
Fine Arts Gallery of Bronxville

99B Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-779-5053

Objects and Images Fine Arts
Objects and Images Fine Arts

117 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
914-779-7979

The O'Silas Gallery at Concordia College
The O'Silas Gallery at Concordia College
Part of Concordia College New York, the OSilas Gallery integrates the visual arts into the cultural and educational life of our campus and community by providing quality exhibitions and programs that are diverse in style, content, and media. Our programs are memorable, thought-provoking, and spiritually enriching; and of artistic originality, integrity, and excellence.
 
914.395.4520
Womrath Bookstore
Womrath Bookstore
Womrath Bookshop is a located in the heart of Bronxville village. In addition to selling books, the store also sell children's toys and holds readings both at the store and elsewhere in the community, such as at the Library.

76 Pondfield Road
Bronxville, NY
(914) 337-0199

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