An Instant National Bestseller!
An Indie Next Pick!
A Most Anticipated in 2021 Pick for Oprah Magazine | USA Today | Buzzfeed | Greatist | BookPage | PopSugar | Bustle | The Nerd Daily | Goodreads | Literary Hub | Ms. Magazine | Library Journal | Culturess | Book Riot | Parade Magazine | Kirkus | The Week | Book Bub | OverDrive | The Portalist | Publishers Weekly
A Best of Summer Pick for TIME Magazine | CNN | Book Riot | The Daily Beast | Lambda Literary
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“Gatsby the way it should have been written—dark, dazzling, fantastical.” —R. F. Kuang
"A vibrant and queer reinvention of F. Scott Fitzgerald's jazz age classic. . . . I was captivated from the first sentence."—NPR
“Vo has crafted a retelling that, in many ways, surpasses the original."—Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW)
Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.
But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.
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APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Live the magic of The Great Gatsby in a magical new way. Jordan Baker is just your average socialite in the 1920s New York party scene—aside from the fact that she was taken from Vietnam as a child, is attracted to both women and men, and makes paper cutouts that somehow come to life. When big shot Jay Gatsby seeks her help reuniting with his now-married love Daisy Fay, Jordan’s pulled deeper into his devilish world. Nghi Vo’s mesmerizing full-length debut is stunning in its own right, and it explores racial, gender, and sexuality issues Fitzgerald likely never even considered. Vo strips the glitz and glamour from Gatsby, giving her heroine a hardened exterior that hides a complex young woman trying to find acceptance in a world where she’s barely tolerated. The Chosen and the Beautiful is a brilliant, fresh reimagining of one of the 20th century’s defining tales.
Vo's extraordinary full-length debut (after the novella When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain) draws readers into a fantastical reimagining of the world of The Great Gatsby. In Vo's version, magic is as regular as Jay Gatsby's soirees, prohibition bans covered demon blood as well as alcohol, and star golfer Jordan Baker can turn cut paper into enchantments. Jorden and Daisy Fay became friends when they were children. Now, Daisy is settled with Tom Buchanan while Jordan navigates New York City's social scene as an accepted outsider, kept at arm's length for her Vietnamese heritage. When Daisy sets Jordan up with her cousin, Nick Carraway, Jordan takes little notice of him until Jay Gatsby sets his eyes on Nick as well. The unnerving Gatsby asks Jordan to put in a good word for him with Nick, Daisy's reeling from Gatsby's reemergence in her life, and Jordan is developing unwelcome romantic affections of her own. Vo balances the increasingly entangled lives of Jordan and her friends with flashbacks to Jordan and Daisy's childhood and teen years. The plot unravels tantalizingly slowly, and Vo's immersive prose never ceases to captivate. The Gatsby-related details and hints of magic will keep readers spellbound from start to finish.