Viet thanh nguyen's recent successes might appear to have come out of nowhere. before the sympathizer won the pulitzer prize and Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War was long-listed for the National Book Award, and before he was named a MacArthur Fellow, Nguyen was another hardworking academic, laboring away in a field that no one outside it knew much about. For those who labored alongside him in the same field, the story looks different. When many of us were finishing graduate school and looking for our first teaching jobs, there was a joke going around that all the applicants on the market that year were waiting to find out what Nguyen would do. He had gotten all the job offers in the field, and the other top contenders were hanging out on the waiting list. His irst book, Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (2002), a study of how the idea of resistance circulates in critical discussions of Asian American literature, landed with a splash, becoming one of those works other scholars had to be familiar with. What made it stand out was his insistence that we not idealize resistance. If the standard story that scholars liked to tell was that Asian American literature adopted a radical posture when it came to race, seeking to critique racism and to conjure alternative social possibilities, Nguyen pointed out that the story was incomplete. Asian Americans, including creative writers, are as heterogeneous ideology-wise as they are heterogeneous in every other way.