Hunger by Lan Samantha Chang

This book of short stories and a novella is excellent, mainstream fiction about Chinese-Americans, Chinese in America, America in Chinese, Chinese in China (a little), Chinese in Taiwan (a little)… Chang’s introduction for discussion groups suggests it’s a book full of stories about types of hunger and how they consume families, which makes sense given the title, but to me, it felt more like a book full of oblique (and not-so-oblique) ghost stories. At times it felt a little bit, oh, I don’t know, too skillful, but there was definitely something very respectable about how Chang wrote these stories… definitely something precise, crafted, and very aware of the power of words. She describes such minute, but absolutely pertinent, details all the way through.

Anyway, a book of hauntings. With it dark so early, and so chilly outside, it really is exactly the kind of book for the season.

5 thoughts on “Hunger by Lan Samantha Chang

  1. I must check out this book. Robert and I have had conversations about this topic, specifically relating to his family. It all started with a simple joke. I told him that he eats like a little boy and he asked me to explain further. Before I knew it, we were having a discussion about the impoverished conditions his parents grew up in. I can’t get Robert to read fiction to save his life (if it isn’t a non-fiction book about self-improvement, he won’t touch it) but maybe I can twist his arm with this read. Either way, I will pick it up. It sounds like you were impressed with her language–that’s a big draw for me when I read.

  2. Oh, yeah, if I am unimpressed with the language or style, I generally tend not to get far with fiction. I can forgive it in nonfiction, but in fiction, if the author isn’t writing and putting his or her whole back into it, I’m not reading the book for very long.

    Ha… my girlfriend reads fiction — she’s a voracious reader — but she’s not particularly interested in SF. Though she has enjoyed some things I’ve given her, like Connie Willis’s The Doomsday Book, and The Diamond Age, and I think Schismatrix. Right now she’s reading one of her Xmas present books from me, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, in Korean translation; I count that one as speculative fiction, what with the ghost and all.

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