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A Roxane Gay's Audacious Book Club Pick
Named a Best Book of Summer by: Wall Street Journal * Thrillist * Vogue * Lit Hub * Refinery29 * New York Observer * The Daily Beast * Time * BuzzFeed * Entertainment Weekly
A vibrant story collection about Cambodian-American life--immersive and comic, yet unsparing--that offers profound insight into the intimacy of queer and immigrant communities
Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family.
A high school badminton coach and failing grocery store owner tries to relive his glory days by beating a rising star teenage player. Two drunken brothers attend a wedding afterparty and hatch a plan to expose their shady uncle's snubbing of the bride and groom. A queer love affair sparks between an older tech entrepreneur trying to launch a safe space app and a disillusioned young teacher obsessed with Moby-Dick. And in the sweeping final story, a nine-year-old child Read More chevron_right
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Book Reviews (1)
By John Smith , Dec 8, 2021
I ordered this book because I was genuinely interested in learning about the lives of Cambodian Americans, especially since these people had suffered so much during the Communist Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. I was depressed to discover that the book is mainly about the very shallow, superficial lives of the younger generation. The genocide is mentioned in every single story, but it seems to have had no profound impact whatsoever on the lives of the author and his characters, many of whom are clearly rooted in the author's own life. I have rarely read a book so relentlessly full of expletives and so depressing in its materialistic, hedonistic view of life. Instead of reflecting deeply on the trauma and the good fortune of having survived one of the most brutal massacres in history, the author spends most of the book describing drug use, casual sex, rampant materialism, shallow relationships, and an essentially nihilistic attitude toward life. Little respect is shown for the older Cambodian Americans who did manage to survive the slaughter and who did manage to build new lives for themselves and their children. Instead, the author depicts second-generation Cambodian Americans who seem to have lost touch with the brave people from whom they are descended. Rarely have I been more disappointed in a book. I was not surprised, unfortunately, to read that the author had died of a drug overdose.
Recommended to buy: No