Join us on Friday, November 4 at 7pm PT when Hua Hsu celebrates the release of his memoir, Stay True, with José Vadi at 9th Ave!
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Praise for Stay True
“Hua Hsu offers, with seeming effortless grace and lucidity. . .a map to his soul’s becoming. He shows how he constructed an armor against the injustices of the world, one made only of porousness and transparency, the only armor worth donning. This kind and degree of sharing is a rare gift.” —Jonathan Lethem, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Motherless Brooklyn
"Deep feelings coursed through me as I read Hua Hsu's story: Grief, nostalgia, pity, terror, mercy…Stay True is a crucial, sense-making, healing book." —Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior
“'I was a storyteller with a plot twist guaranteed to astound and destroy,’ Hua Hsu says of himself, in a tone that is slightly ironic. And yet what he has achieved in Stay True is exactly that: to astound and destroy his reader. This book is exquisite and excruciating and I will be thinking about it for years and years to come.” —Rachel Kushner, two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of The Flamethrowers and The Mars Room
"In crafting Stay True, Hua Hsu has opted to trust the consequential size of memories shared with Ken over what we readers feel we are owed. The result is one of the finest memoirs I've ever read." —Kiese Laymon, New York Times bestselling author of Heavy
"Stay True feels like one of those books that is the sum total of a writer’s life in thinking, craft, and curiosity, made felt at last, so that when the sentences come, they come with a deliberate, patient, and precise force. Hsu takes on the central theme of a friend’s violent loss and casts from that void a story that, somehow, despite the hurt and confusion, embraces the world around it with a steady and capacious centrifugal force. This is the endeavor of writing at its most open, meticulous, forgiving and tender—which is to say, this is writing at its best." —Ocean Vuong, New York Times bestselling author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
About Stay True
From the New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, a gripping memoir on friendship, grief, the search for self, and the solace that can be found through art.
“This book is exquisite and excruciating and I will be thinking about it for years and years to come.” —Rachel Kushner, two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of The Flamethrowers and The Mars Room
In the eyes of eighteen-year-old Hua Hsu, the problem with Ken—with his passion for Dave Matthews, Abercrombie & Fitch, and his fraternity—is that he is exactly like everyone else. Ken, whose Japanese American family has been in the United States for generations, is mainstream; for Hua, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, who makes ’zines and haunts Bay Area record shops, Ken represents all that he defines himself in opposition to. The only thing Hua and Ken have in common is that, however they engage with it, American culture doesn’t seem to have a place for either of them.
But despite his first impressions, Hua and Ken become friends, a friendship built on late-night conversations over cigarettes, long drives along the California coast, and the successes and humiliations of everyday college life. And then violently, senselessly, Ken is gone, killed in a carjacking, not even three years after the day they first meet.
Determined to hold on to all that was left of one of his closest friends—his memories—Hua turned to writing. Stay True is the book he’s been working on ever since. A coming-of-age story that details both the ordinary and extraordinary, Stay True is a bracing memoir about growing up, and about moving through the world in search of meaning and belonging.
About Hua Hsu
Hua Hsu is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a professor of Literature at Bard College. Hsu serves on the executive board of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. He was formerly a fellow at the New America Foundation and the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center at the New York Public Library. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his family.
About José Vadi
José Vadi is an award-winning essayist, poet, playwright and film producer. He is the author of Inter State: Essays from California. His work has been featured by the Paris Review, The Atlantic, the PBS NewsHour, the San Francisco Chronicle, Free Skate Magazine, Alta Journal, and the Yale Review.
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A gripping memoir on friendship, grief, the search for self, and the solace that can be found through art, by the New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu
A "must read" debut collection of poetic, linked essays investigating the past and present state of California, its conflicting histories and their impact on a writer's family and life (Los Angeles Times).