Meet Sirius Lee, a famous Chinese American comedian. He is a no good, very bad Asian. If you’re a fan of the work of Paul Beatty, you’ll enjoy this novel.
“Laughter here feels so good. One laugh feels like tens of thousands of living laughs. If there’s a prize to dying, it’s the laughter.”
We apparate upon the crest of a foothill, one of many that go on and on into the darkness. Not much light here in the celestial; you can never see anyone too clearly. I wonder what Allison looked like in the light of the living. She was only forty-five, went well before her time. I died smack on the average global lifespan. Sixty-eight years and six months, leaving my husband Tim and our son Charlie, who we adopted from China. Allison and I look up at the black-blue of space where The City hung like an elaborate necklace of stars—the world of the living.
“You don’t say much,” Allison says.
I force a smile. “I still can’t believe I’m here. I feel so good. Like I’m eighteen again. Well, maybe not eighteen. Thirty-five? It’s been so long since I’ve felt even okay. I had leukemia. The end was long and arduous.”
“I don’t remember my cause,” she says. “Must have been sudden. But I feel twenty-one! I’ve heard the feeling wears off though.” The sky, she faces. “As they forget.”
I’ve been told that our continued existence is a mere manifestation of the memories of the living—our friends, family, friends of friends, friends of family of friends of family, and so on. As their memories weaken, we gradually fade and feel worse and worse until we’re gone for good. Turns out death is much like life.
Read the rest over at Drunk Monkeys.
“Porn isn’t calculus.”
“Obscenely early. A shooting day, so I headed to the set. As I pulled my Tesla out of the garage, I saw a skinny old dark-skinned Asian guy wearing a plain white tee and cargo pants in my rearview. Had I called the gardener to come early?
But this gardener had the wrong tools. I rolled down my window and asked what he wanted. He didn’t answer. His hands were behind him, like a kung fu master. His hair was cut very short, his face deeply lined. Squinting and blinking, he resembled an Asian Clint Eastwood.
I repeated my question.
‘I’m Herbert Lin’s father.’ He brought forward his hands, one of them gripping a sizable revolver. He pointed it through the window, inches from my face.”
“He looked just like me. He was me.”
“We rented an apartment on Avenue Trudaine. The place was on the third floor and overlooked Square D’Anvers, which was a short downhill walk from Sacre Coeur. A farmers market convened beside the tree-lined square. There was quite a crowd when we arrived. Anne wanted to nap off the long flight, but I was ready to begin exploring immediately. I had never been to Paris, and already, I was smitten.
It was August, sunny and temperate. At the market, my goodness, the colors of fruit, the variety! The olives! The nuts and spices! The French prunes! Row upon row of hale-looking tomatoes and eggplants and strawberries and all kinds of produce that made one imagine the most fertile of soil, capable of sprouting infinite abundance, endless and undying versions of natural sustenance.
I drifted into the square, where a playground and gazebo stood. On a green and red slide, several children swooped down. On the seesaw, twin girls crested and dropped. Though I had never felt any gut-level pinings for parenthood, Anne and I had reached an age when all of our friends had kids. Reproduction seemed like the correct, next box to check despite the fact we were obviously free to choose. A mom and dad sat in the gazebo and observed their playing children from afar, speaking Italian. I inhaled the fresh Parisian air and imagined Anne and myself in the couple’s place.
Then I saw him.
He wore a red turtleneck sweater. He squatted and spoke French to his daughter, who was a toddler and Eurasian. He buttoned up her jacket.
He looked just like me. He was me.”
A dream come true, made possible by my translator Dr. Song Xiaoying and my late grandfather, the author Guo Wan Check
When you start a novel, you never think that one day, it’ll be translated and you’ll be invited halfway across the world to talk about it. It was more than a dream come true, because it was a dream I never even dared to dream. It was a dream that my late grandfather, the author Guo Wan Check, dreamed for me. A trip to remember.
Much credit goes to Dr. Song Xiaoying, who translated the book.
Here’s are the editions side by side:
MEDIA COVERAGE IN CHINA