One of the narrator’s friends from college who got his Anglophone nickname in 1969. Sonny was a scholarship student at a college in Orange County, California, where he studied journalism. Sonny left Vietnam, promising his parents that he would liberate the country from the United States. He once reported for an Orange County newspaper and lived in a town called Westminster. He edits a newspaper that serves the Vietnamese community. Moved by the refugee plight, he started the newspaper, which is the first to print news in Vietnamese. He is a “naked leftist” who thinks that he’s always right, and is always eager to address an opponent’s inconsistencies. Depending on one’s perspective, he was either self-confident or arrogant during his school days. His grandfather was a mandarin, or a traditionalist elder, who loathed the French. He became so politically inflammatory that the colonizers sent him “on a one-way berth to Tahiti,” where he supposedly befriended the painter Paul Gauguin, then died either of dengue fever or “an incurable strain of virulent homesickness.” As a student, Sonny led the antiwar faction of Vietnamese foreign students, which assembled each month in the student union or in someone’s apartment. Sonny later becomes involved with the narrator’s former lover, Sofia Mori. Concerned about the impact of some of his reporting, the General orders the narrator to kill Sonny. The narrator goes to Sonny’s apartment and fatally shoots him five times.