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Asian Readathon Reads #2

The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh. Koh's parents left for South Korea to work when she was 15. She and her brother stayed in the United States. Using her mother's letters as an unifying thread, Koh explores how abandoned she felt and the difficulties she faced all alone and the consequences the move had on her and her family. Dealing with mental health issues, racism and identity, The Magical Language of Others is written in a beautiful, lyrical manner. I highly recommend it.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong. An essay collection blending many genres all at once. Every single essay was brutal and I love how they felt like a memoir since she links the issues she explores (mental health issues, racism, East-West history, colonialism and art/literature among others) to her own experiences.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Unfortunately I have mixed feelings about this one. The writing I found beautiful although pretentious at times and despite being gripped by this letter a son writes to her mother at the beginning, the author started to lose me halfway through and by the time I hit the third section he had lost me completely, to the point where I wasn't sure of the "purpose" of the novel or even what he was trying to do. So, it's a weird feeling; why? Because I'm glad I read it, but at the same time, the last section left a bitter taste in my mouth and "contaminated" my initial opinion of the story. The issues discussed are important and poignant; however, it lacked something. Or maybe I'm not the right audience for this type of novel. Whatever the case, it doesn't change the outcome.



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