The second half of 2022 was active on the writing front. I was a special guest on the faculty of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and attended the Monson Arts Residency in Maine to work on my next books.
On the book coverage front, my work made three appearances in the San Francisco Chronicle. I interviewed Catherine Ceniza Choy about her book about Asian American histories. Then I reviewed Ryan Lee Wong’s debut novel, two books about North Korea, and selected my best book of 2022.
For NPR, I reviewed two novels I loved at the midyear mark, Paradais, by Fernanda Melchor, and The Stars Are Not Yet Bells, by Hannah Lilith Assadi. I also reviewed Ghost Town, a novel by Kevin Chen, published by one of my favorite indies Europa Editions.
For my friends at Heavy Feather Review, I rounded up my top five reads of 2022 with an emphasis on small and independent presses.
Happy new year to all!
In Valeria Luiselli’s first novel Faces In The Crowd, a promiscuous, melancholy mother loses herself so thoroughly while translating the work of a Mexican poet named Gilberto Owen that her narration slowly becomes that of the equally promiscuous, swashbuckling poet. In Luiselli’s funny new picaresque The Story of My Teeth, Gustavo “Highway” Sánchez Sánchez picks up where Owen left off. He too is a charismatic raconteur whose first-person narration simultaneously charms and cuckolds. Highway not-so-humbly describes himself as “the best auctioneer in the world.”
Read the rest of the review at [PANK] Magazine.
France’s literary bad boy Michel Houellebecq is stirring controversy again. If you feel that literature has become too genteel, too much like Hollywood in its pursuit of blockbusters that eliminate all local flavor from prose, then you’ll be thirsty for Houellebecq’s very funny and provocative new novel Submission. The book has drawn mostly negative attention from the European media for its portrayal of a Muslim takeover of secular France in the near future. The book is critical both of the modern manifestation of Islam (especially its treatment of women) and of the political, theological, and cultural decline of Europe.
François, Houellebecq’s narrator, is the embodiment of France’s decline.
Read the rest of the review at The Rumpus.