It’s a big fucking deal for me to announce that my first novel THE MISADVENTURES OF SULLIVER PONG is coming out this year in October with CCLaP Publishing. CCLaP is an indie press in Chicago that is just flat-out doing beautiful, super-cool books and I’m proud and a little bit shocked, frankly, to be a part of it this year.
As for SULLIVER PONG, the book has been on a long and wayward journey around the publishing world. I’m not even 100% sure anymore when I started or finished it. My best guess is I started it in 2004 and finished it in 2010. A bulk of the work happened in my MFA program at Lesley University, where I worked with novelists Laurie Foos and Michael Lowenthal. An excerpt of the manuscript got me into the MacDowell Colony and then shortly thereafter, the book found representation and I thought, here we go. This is going to happen. Like many good manuscripts, however, the novel didn’t sell, so I moved on to write the next book. And the next one. And now I’m working on yet another one. All the while, I would occasionally find the motivation to send it out to small presses with open calls for manuscripts, knowing that going that route was even more difficult than landing an agent.
I sent it out to a few places in 2012. Then a few more places in 2014, after I had been diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disease named MDS that would eventually require a stem cell transplant. Then while I was in the hospital, on the day the doctors came in and confirmed that my stem cell transplant had engrafted after a week of chemo and roughly a week of waiting while my blood counts slowly dwindled to what are typically life-threatening levels, I got the email saying that CCLaP wanted THE MISADVENTURES OF SULLIVER PONG.
I’m still trying to make sense of it all. The book’s journey. My journey. As for most people crazy enough to do art without knowing whether it will ever see an audience, the book’s journey and mine are one and the same.
Here is a link to the CCLaP 2015 catalog, where there are many very cool books coming out this year, including ones from Curbside Splendor’s Ben Tanzer and Douglas Light, who wrote the novel and screenplay for the indie film Trouble With Bliss. Also, here’s a teaser about my book.
October 12th: The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong, Leland Cheuk. At its heart a very sober look at all the injustices that Asian-Americans have had to endure over the years (from the railroad days of the Victorian Age to the forced camps of World War Two), but cleverly told through the darkly comedic filter of one particular family who lived through it all, each new generation’s patriarch either corrupt and benefiting from the atrocities or cartoonishly inept and punished for it. A laugh-out-loud yet highly literary story of dysfunctional families, perfect for existing fans of Jonathan Franzen.