5 Books By Asian Authors To Read In April 2021
In the wake of the global #StopAsianHate movement, many have been looking for book recommendations to better understand the experiences of the Asian diaspora community, beyond Kevin Kwan's glittering world of riches and luxury in Crazy Rich Asians.
From light-hearted fiction to heart-wrenching memoirs, we've rounded up the exciting new releases from Jhumpa Lahiri, Michelle Zauner and other talented writers offering their take on the topic.
1/5 Southbound by Anjali Enjeti
Former attorney, organiser, and award-winning journalist Anjali Enjeti releases a collection of 20 essays on identity, inheritance and social change. Tracing her own personal journey as a mixed-race girl growing up in the Deep South, she tackles tough topics, including white feminism, the early years of the AIDS epidemic in the South, the 1982 racialised killing of Vincent Chin, evangelical Christianity's marriage to extremism, voter suppression, gun violence and historical whitewashing, in a powerfully optimistic and unifying voice.
Release Date: April 5
2/5 Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian
Sanjena Sathian's debut book tells a tale of second-generation Asian-American teenagers anxious to live up to cultural expectations, sprinkled with magical elements of ancient potions and stolen gold. Gold Diggers takes us on an adventure in this witty social satire that questions identity, skewers the model minority narrative and tears down American shibboleths.
This novel has already garnered praise from big names in the entertainment industry, including Mindy Kaling and Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere, who described Gold Diggers as "dizzyingly original, fiercely funny, deeply wise".
Kaling, who is behind the hit Netflix series dealing with similar themes, Never Have I Ever, even announced that she's working with Sathian to bring this story to the small screen.
Release date: April 6
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3/5 Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Khan
Sabina Khan's heart-wrenching new novel is a timely and intimate look at the reality of being an immigrant in America today where standing up to Islamophobia can have more repercussions for the victims than their perpetrators. This is the case for 17-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, whose family's dependant visa status and entire existence in Corpus Christi, Texas, is jeopardised by the hateful crimes of her high school's star footballer.
Zara Hossain Is Here is a must-read tale of endurance, hope and faith in the face of hate.
Release Date: April 6
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4/5 Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
In 2018, Michelle Zauner—better known by her stage name, Japanese Breakfast—penned a powerful New Yorker essay on her experiences losing her mother and struggling with her multicultural identity. Zauner turns this essay that deeply resonated with the Asian diaspora into a breathtaking memoir with family photos and intimate anecdotes of her life, from her painful adolescence as a high-schooler in Eugene, Oregon and treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul before her mother's cancer diagnosis, to her budding music career.
The singer, songwriter, and guitarist lays her soul bare in this lyrical and honest account of her 32 years, as she comes to terms with the experiences that shaped her.
Release Date: April 20
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5/5 Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri
This Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladies has released her first novel in nearly a decade. Originally written in Italian, the story introduces the protagonist roaming her city, desperate to belong but refusing to form lasting ties. We follow her through parks, piazzas and pools before she is reunited with her mother, who herself is still struggling with her husband's untimely death.
Those familiar with Lahiri's work will not be disappointed with this beautifully written, deeply intelligent exploration into each character's emotional landscape as they grapple with solitude and dislocation.
Release Date: April 27
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