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Startling stories center the bodies, memories, myths, and relationships of Asian American women in “a voracious, probing collection, proof of how exhilarating the short story can be” (The New York Times Book Review)—from the National Book Award “5 Under 35” honoree and author of Bestiary
“Wise, energetic, funny, and wild, Gods of Want displays a boundless imagination anchored by the weight of ancestors and history.”—Kali Fajardo-Anstine, author of Sabrina & Corina and Woman of Light
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Them, Book Riot
In “Auntland,” a steady stream of aunts adjust to American life by sneaking surreptitious kisses from women at temple, buying tubs of vanilla ice cream to prepare for citizenship tests, and hatching plans to name their daughters “Dog.” In “The Chorus of Dead Cousins,” ghost-cousins cross space, seas, and skies to haunt their live-cousin, wife to a storm chaser. In “Xífù,” a mother-in-law tortures a wife in increasingly unsuccessful attempts to rid the house of her. In “Mariela,” two girls explore one another’s bodies for the first time in the belly of a plastic shark, while in “Virginia Slims,” a woman from a cigarette ad comes to life. And in “Resident Aliens,” a former slaughterhouse serves as a residence to a series of widows, each harboring her own calamitous secrets.
With each tale, K-Ming Chang gives us her own take on a surrealism that mixes myth and migration, corporeality and ghostliness, queerness and the quotidian. Stunningly told in her feminist fabulist style, these are uncanny stories peeling back greater questions of power and memory.
About the Author
K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She is the author of the novel Bestiary, which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.
“[K-Ming Chang] rewrites the world as a place of radical transformation.’”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Her] ability, to take a common, decidedly earthbound, experience and transform it through her lens into a fantastical, otherworldly encounter shines. . . . Chang’s writing reflects her gift as a lifelong listener of oral storytelling . . . and her ability to synthesize new ideas with her own spin on language.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Chang has a special talent for forging history into myth and myth into present-day fiction. . . . Gods of Want is in some ways a fantasy of queer freedom. Its main characters, all Taiwanese or Chinese by birth or descent, are allowed to be who they are, to love and make love to whomever they choose.”—Los Angeles Times
“[K-Ming Chang] is back with her signature precise and enthralling prose in this short-story collection.”—Shondaland
“K-Ming Chang’s inspired mix of magic and realism returns in full fabulist force. . . . The stories are eclectic . . . and united by Chang’s fascination with the queer and quotidian in her characters’ worlds. . . . Piercing.”—Esquire
“Her new short-story collection Gods of Want both widens and calcifies the expansiveness of her range. . . . Chang is singular amongst us all. . . . New work from Chang is a cause for celebration—a holiday in its own right—and it’s also a reminder of the infinite possibilities on the page. . . . Nothing short of marvelous.”—Bryan Washington, for Electric Literature
“A whole body experience.”—THEM
“These stories glitter and pulse . . . Full of mythic desire, joy and pain disguised as the other, and navigating the precarious balance of how to belong to a land while still belonging to oneself, Gods of Want is bursting with language and images so striking, so sure of their own strength, I found myself stunned. The worlds and characters depicted in these pages are original, strange, sometimes-horrific, and all the more gorgeous because of it.”—Dantiel W. Moniz, author of Milk Blood Heat
“In the genre of feminine madness, these stories are to be worshipped. They are fearless, hysterical, violent yet full of grace. Each sentence escalates toward devastating, poetic insight about our bodies, about cultural demands both treasured and feared, and about what makes being alive a terror and a joy.”—Venita Blackburn, author of How to Wrestle a Girl
“This book traces a line from old worlds to new worlds by means of the bloody umbilical cords that stretch between them. . . . These stories unthread the tangled relationships between mothers and daughter, aunts and cousins, siblings and lovers . . . a lingering sense that language, as well as life, is infinitely adaptable, no matter the ground on which it is given to grow. Lurid, funny, strange, and deftly sorrowing—an important new voice.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Dazzling . . . This stellar collection will leave readers hungry for more.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)