NYPL Young Lions Finalist * Shortlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award * A New York Times Editors’ Choice Book * A Best Book of 2022 by NPR, Vogue, Jezebel and Book Riot * A Malala Book Club Pick * A Phenomenal Book Club Pick
A Taiwanese American woman’s coming-of-consciousness ignites eye-opening revelations and chaos on a college campus in this outrageously hilarious and startlingly tender debut novel
Twenty-nine-year-old PhD student Ingrid Yang is desperate to finish her dissertation on the late canonical poet Xiao-Wen Chou and never read about “Chinese-y” things again. But after years of grueling research, all she has to show for her efforts are a junk food addiction and stomach pain. When she accidentally stumbles upon a curious note in the Chou archives one afternoon, it looks like her ticket out of academic hell.
But Ingrid’s in much deeper than she thinks. Her clumsy exploits to unravel the note’s message lead to an explosive discovery, upending her entire life and the lives of those around her. What follows is a roller coaster of mishaps and misadventures, from book burnings and OTC drug hallucinations, to hot-button protests and Yellow Peril 2.0 propaganda. As the events Ingrid instigated keep spiraling, she’ll have to confront her sticky relationship to white men and white institutions—and, most of all, herself.
A blistering send-up of privilege and power, and a profound reckoning of individual complicity and unspoken rage, in Disorientation Elaine Hsieh Chou asks who gets to tell our stories—and how the story changes when we finally tell it ourselves.
About The Author
Elaine Hsieh Chou (pronounced Shay Chow) is a Taiwanese American writer from California. Her debut novel DISORIENTATION (Penguin Press / Picador) is a New York Times Editors' Choice Book, an NPR Best Book of 2022, a VCU Cabell First Novelist shortlist nominee and an NYPL Young Lions Finalist.
A former Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow at NYU and NYFA Artist Fellow, her Pushcart Award-winning short fiction appears in Guernica, Black Warrior Review, Tin House Online, Ploughshares, The Atlantic and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2023 Fred R. Brown Literary Award. As a writing and workshop instructor, she has taught fiction for NYU, The Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, Catapult, Accent Society, Kundiman and Tin House.
Her multi-genre short story collection WHERE ARE YOU REALLY FROM is forthcoming from Penguin Press.
Author: Elaine Hsieh Chou
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publish Date: March 2023
Page Count: 416