"One of the funniest books of the year has arrived, a delicious, ambitious Hollywood satire." —The Washington Post
"Fresh and beautiful . . . Interior Chinatown represents yet another stellar destination in the journey of a sui generis author of seemingly limitless skill and ambition.” —Jeff VanderMeer, The New York Times Book Review
From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play.
Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He’s merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that’s what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.
Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
How many times have you felt like an extra in someone else’s movie? For Willis Wu, the protagonist of Charles Yu’s inventive novel, that sense of disposability follows him every day as he navigates his real and “reel” lives—living in a depressingly tiny L.A. apartment while appearing on a TV series in the role of Generic Asian Man. Structured like a screenplay, Interior Chinatown made us root for Willis’ dreams to break free from his demeaning reality. Yu has a talent for turning hilarious pop-culture riffs into meaningful explorations of social and racial issues, but his novel really hits home when he touches on the real emotions beneath the jokes. He shows us how Asian Americans can feel culturally adrift in—or outright rejected by—their own country, and looks at the ways people find a sense of self-worth and community in spite of these roadblocks. Fast and funny, this wonderful read has a devastating sting.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Unusual Little Gem
This book has such an unusual construction! It was very entertaining with plenty of humor thrown in to offset the heartbreak of the immigrants stories. The information about anti-miscegenation laws in the US was really an eye-opener. After reading this book, I saw an ad for Disney’s Mulan II and cringed!