This book cover image released by Grove Press shows "The Sympathizer," a novel by by Viet Thanh Nguyen, which won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday, April 18, 2016 in the fiction category. (Grove Press via AP)

No Matter How It Arrives

Only later, at home, on the wooden bed we shared, did Mama weep. It did not matter that other aunts and uncles gave me red envelopes, although when I compared mine with my cousins’, I discovered that my sums of lucky money were but half theirs. That’s because you’re half-blooded, said one calculating cousin. You’re a bastard. When I asked Mama what a bastard was, her face inflamed. If I could, she said, I’d strangle him with my bare hands. Never in my life has there been a day when I learned so much about myself, the world, and its inhabitants. One must be so grateful for one’s education no matter how it arrives. So I was grateful, in a way, for my aunt and my cousin, whose lessons I remember much more than many nobler things that passed before me in school.

Read more from The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

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