JOIN US ON THURSDAY, APRIL 21 AT 7PM PT WHEN ELAINE HSIEH CHOU CELEBRATES HER NOVEL, DISORIENTATION, WITH MURIEL LEUNG AT 9TH AVE!
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Free to attend, RSVP Required for in-person
Or watch online by registering at the link here (no need to RSVP on Eventbrite)
Praise for Disorientation
“Disorientation is an irreverent campus satire that skewers white sclerotic academia, creepy Asian fetishists and twee boba liberalism, but lastly and most importantly, it’s a satire, inspired by recent controversies, about an orientalist tradition and its manifestations today. Helmed by a memorable screwball protagonist, the novel is both a joyous and sharply-drawn caper.” —Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings
“Chou’s pen is a scalpel. Disorientation addresses the private absurdities the soul must endure to get free, from tokenism, the quiet exploitation of well-meaning institutions, and the bondage that is self-imposed. Chou does it with wit and verve, and no one is spared.” —Raven Leilani, author of Luster
“Disorientation is a multivalent pleasure, a deeply original debut novel that reinvents the campus novel satire as an Asian American literary studies whodunnit, in which the murder victim might be your idea of yourself—no matter how you identify. I often held my breath until I laughed and I wouldn’t dare compare it or Chou to anyone writing now. Wickedly funny and knowing, Chou’s dagger wit is sure-eyed, intent on what feels like a decolonization of her protagonist, if not the reader, that just might set her free.” —Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
A Taiwanese American woman’s coming-of-consciousness ignites eye-opening revelations and chaos on a college campus in this outrageously hilarious and startlingly tender debut novel.
Twenty-nine-year-old PhD student Ingrid Yang is desperate to finish her dissertation on the late canonical poet Xiao-Wen Chou and never read about “Chinese-y” things again. But after years of grueling research, all she has to show for her efforts are junk food addiction and stomach pain. When she accidentally stumbles upon a curious note in the Chou archives one afternoon, she convinces herself it’s her ticket out of academic hell.
But Ingrid’s in much deeper than she thinks. Her clumsy exploits to unravel the note’s message lead to an explosive discovery, upending not only her sheltered life within academia but her entire world beyond it. With her trusty friend Eunice Kim by her side and her rival Vivian Vo hot on her tail, together they set off a roller coaster of mishaps and misadventures, from book burnings and OTC drug hallucinations, to hot-button protests and Yellow Peril 2.0 propaganda.
In the aftermath, nothing looks the same to Ingrid—including her gentle and doting fiancé, Stephen Greene. When he embarks on a book tour with the super kawaii Japanese author he’s translated, doubts and insecurities creep in for the first time… As the events Ingrid instigated keep spiraling, she’ll have to confront her sticky relationship to white men and white institutions—and, most of all, herself.
For readers of Paul Beatty’s The Sellout and Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown, this uproarious and bighearted satire is a blistering send-up of privilege and power in America, and a profound reckoning of individual complicity and unspoken rage. In this electrifying debut novel from a provocative new voice, Elaine Hsieh Chou asks who gets to tell our stories—and how the story changes when we finally tell it ourselves.
About Elaine Hsieh Chou
Elaine Hsieh Chou is a Taiwanese American writer from California. A Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow at NYU and a NYSCA/NYFA Fellow, her short fiction appears in The Normal School, Black Warrior Review, Guernica, Tin House Online and Ploughshares. After living in Taipei and Paris, she is now based in New York. Her debut novel DISORIENTATION comes out from Penguin Press (US) on March 22, 2022 and and Picador (UK) on July 21, 2022.
About Muriel Leung
From Queens, NY, Muriel Leung is the author of Imagine Us, The Swarm (Nightboat Books), Bone Confetti (Noemi Press), and Images Seen to Images Felt (Antenna) in collaboration with artist Kristine Thompson. She is a recipient of fellowships to Kundiman, VONA/Voices Workshop and the Community of Writers, and currently serves as the Poetry Co-Editor of Apogee Journal. Currently, she is an Andrew W. Mellon Humanities in a Digital World fellow at the University of Southern California where she is completing her PhD in Creative Writing and Literature.
“The funniest, most poignant novel of the year.” —Vogue
“Disorientation does what great comedies and satires are supposed to do: make you laugh while forcing you to ponder the uncomfortable implications of every punchline.” —The Washington Post
2022 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARDS FINALIST
Winner of the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize, Imagine Us, The Swarm offers seven powerful texts that form a constellation of voices, forms, and approaches to confront loneliness, silence, and death.