2021 Fiction by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors

Looking for captivating new titles to enjoy as we observe Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month this May? Here are ten varied works of fiction by AAPI authors published so far this year.

The City of Good Death, by Priyanka Champeneri. Banaras on the banks of the Ganges is esteemed a good place to die, never to be reborn, but when the ghost of Pramesh’s cousin Sagar returns to haunt the living, it is clear that his was not a good death at all.

Land of Big Numbers, by Te-Ping Chen. Keen psychological realism and haunting absurdist fables combine to provide a rich, subtle window on the poignancy of life in contemporary China, in this arresting story collection.

Burnt Sugar, by Avni Dosh. How can Antara cope with her mother Tara’s advancing memory loss, especially when Tara has willfully forgotten Antara so many times before? A delectably bitter novel of inseverable ties to a poisonous parent.

Moments Like This, by Anna Gomez and Kristoffer Polaha.  This sultry multicultural romance between a vulnerable woman fleeing to the Islands after a bad breakup on the mainland and a surfing instructor harboring a dark secret is as warm and breezy as the Tradewinds through the palms.

My Year Abroad, by Chang-rae Lee. Tiller’s semester abroad puts him under the wing of Chinese-American businessman Lou Pong, who takes him on whirlwind tour of Asia that veers from wild to bizarre to downright scary.

The Committed, by Viet Thanh Nguyen. The narrator of Nguyen’s Pulitzer-Prize winning The Sympathizer arrives in Paris to discover an existentialist worldview that harmonizes with the indelible absurdity of his wartime experiences.

Gold Diggers, by Sanjena Sathian. Neeraj “Neil” Narayan’s grades are disappointing, but it isn’t anything that a little gold can’t fix, provided it is ingested in the right formulation. A surreal tragicomedy about the elixir to American success.

The Last Exiles, by Ann Shin. Poor country boy Jin enjoys none of Suja’s privilege among the elite of Pyongyang, but both are held in the tightening grip of an oppressive regime that does not look kindly upon their love.

Lurkers, by Sandi Tan. The residents of Santa Claus Lane in suburban Los Angeles may be a motley bunch with plenty of sordid problems, but twin sisters Rosemary and Miracle Park are pretty sure it’s better than moving back to Korea.

The Chosen and the Beautiful, by Nghi Vo. The Jazz Age decadence of The Great Gatsby, as viewed from the perspective outré tennis pro Jordan Baker, here revealed to be a bisexual Vietnamese orphan with ambitions and appetites of her own.

     ~ Posted by David W.

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