Take part in the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read by enjoying 2023's selection, Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu.
"Working your way up the system doesn’t mean you beat the system. It strengthens it. It’s what the system depends on."—from Interior Chinatown
by Charles Yu
Charles Yu’s critically acclaimed second novel Interior Chinatown is “satire at its best, a shattering and darkly comic send-up of racial stereotyping in Hollywood…presented, perfectly, in the sharply hewed format of a screenplay” (Vanity Fair). Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, the novel is "a moving exploration of race and assimilation" (San Francisco Chronicle), "both rollicking entertainment and scathing commentary" (Booklist), and "a parable for outcasts feeling invisible in this fast-moving world" (Kirkus Reviews). It tells the story of Willis Wu, who has only ever been cast as the Generic Asian Man. Consigned to bit roles in the background of a procedural cop show, he dreams of playing Kung Fu Guy, the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain—or so he has always been told. The novel “recalls the humorous and heartfelt short stories of George Saunders, the metafictional high jinks of Mark Leyner, and films like The Truman Show (New York Times).
Interior Chinatown: Related Titles
As a companion to Charles Yu’s book, we are offering a Teen Big Read selection this year: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.
by Gene Luen Yang
A tour-de-force by New York Times bestselling graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he's the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny's life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable. American Born Chinese is an amazing ride, all the way up to the astonishing climax.
American Born Chinese is the winner of the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award, a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller.
American Born Chinese: Related Titles
The National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, a partnership with Arts Midwest, broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The Big Read is presented in Los Angeles by the Department of Cultural Affairs.