Viet Thanh Nguyen: ‘I didn’t notice the racism of Tintin’

The Pulitzer prize-winning novelist on the depiction of Vietnamese people, the fun in Voltaire’s Candide and memorable masturbation scenesMy earliest reading memoryThe first books I remember reading were from the public library in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where my family came as refugees from Vietnam in 1975. I vividly recall Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, which I read at six years of age, but unlike most children, I didn’t like it. The story of a boy who flees home on a boat and finds himself among foreign creatures was too dark for me. Perhaps it was too close to reality.My favourite book growing upThe Tintin series by Hergé. The books were so beautifully drawn and told, with memorable characters and adventures in exotic lands. The stories were captivating.I loved the exoticism but didn’t notice the racism and colonialism. I’ve given the books to my eight-year-old son and he loves them, too, but I make sure we discuss the problems. Continue reading...

Viet Thanh Nguyen: ‘I didn’t notice the racism of Tintin’

The Pulitzer prize-winning novelist on the depiction of Vietnamese people, the fun in Voltaire’s Candide and memorable masturbation scenes

My earliest reading memory
The first books I remember reading were from the public library in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where my family came as refugees from Vietnam in 1975. I vividly recall Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, which I read at six years of age, but unlike most children, I didn’t like it. The story of a boy who flees home on a boat and finds himself among foreign creatures was too dark for me. Perhaps it was too close to reality.

My favourite book growing up
The Tintin series by Hergé. The books were so beautifully drawn and told, with memorable characters and adventures in exotic lands. The stories were captivating.I loved the exoticism but didn’t notice the racism and colonialism. I’ve given the books to my eight-year-old son and he loves them, too, but I make sure we discuss the problems.

Continue reading...