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Disorientation: A Novel
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Penguin Publishing Group 2022
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Description
“The funniest, most poignant novel of the year.” —Vogue
Disorientation does what great comedies and satires are supposed to do: make you laugh while forcing you to ponder the uncomfortable implications of every punchline.” The Washington Post
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 junk food addiction and stomach pain. When she accidentally stumbles upon a curious note in the Chou archives one afternoon, she convinces herself it’s 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 not only her sheltered life within academia but her entire world beyond it. With her trusty friend Eunice Kim by her side and her rival Vivian Vo hot on her tail, together they set off a roller coaster of mishaps and misadventures, from book burnings and OTC drug hallucinations, to hot-button protests and Yellow Peril 2.0 propaganda.
 
In the aftermath, nothing looks the same to Ingrid—including her gentle and doting fiancé, Stephen Greene. When he embarks on a book tour with the super kawaii Japanese author he’s translated, doubts and insecurities creep in for the first time… 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.
 
For readers of Paul Beatty’s The Sellout and Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown, this uproarious and bighearted satire is a blistering send-up of privilege and power in America, and a profound reckoning of individual complicity and unspoken rage. In this electrifying debut novel from a provocative new voice, Elaine Hsieh Chou asks who gets to tell our stories—and how the story changes when we finally tell it ourselves.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/22/2022
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780593298367
ASIN:
B097B2DXS8
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Elaine Hsieh Chou. (2022). Disorientation: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Elaine Hsieh Chou. 2022. Disorientation: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Elaine Hsieh Chou, Disorientation: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group, 2022.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Elaine Hsieh Chou. Disorientation: A Novel. Penguin Publishing Group, 2022. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Mar 18, 2022 17:07:46
Date Updated:
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Disorientation
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“The funniest, most poignant novel of the year.” —Vogue
Disorientation does what great comedies and satires are supposed to do: make you laugh while forcing you to ponder the uncomfortable implications of every punchline.” The Washington Post
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 junk food addiction and stomach pain. When she accidentally stumbles upon a curious note in the Chou archives one afternoon, she convinces herself it’s 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 not only her sheltered life within academia but her entire world beyond it. With her trusty friend Eunice Kim by her side and her rival Vivian Vo hot on her tail, together they set off a roller coaster of mishaps and misadventures, from book burnings and OTC drug hallucinations, to hot-button protests and Yellow Peril 2.0 propaganda.
 
In the aftermath, nothing looks the same to Ingrid—including her gentle and doting fiancé, Stephen Greene. When he embarks on a book tour with the super kawaii Japanese author he’s translated, doubts and insecurities creep in for the first time… 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.
 
For readers of Paul Beatty’s The Sellout and Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown, this uproarious and bighearted satire is a blistering send-up of privilege and power in America, and a profound reckoning of individual complicity and unspoken rage. In this electrifying debut novel from a provocative new voice, Elaine Hsieh Chou asks who gets to tell our stories—and how the story changes when we finally tell it ourselves.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 1, 2021

        Following some attention-getting short stories, Ali's Good Intentions features a young British Pakistani man named Nur who must break it to his family on New Year's Eve that the woman he truly loves isn't Pakistani but Black (60,000-copy first printing). Set in Trinidad and Tobago, Banwo's When We Were Birds brings together Yejide, raised in a Port Angeles house built on the remains of a plantation whose owners enslaved her ancestors and left unprepared by her mother for her task in life--ferrying the city's souls into the afterlife--and Darwin, who must disregard the religious commandments of his true-believing Rastafarian mother and accept the only job he can find: that of grave digger. Stuck on her dissertation about the late canonical poet Xiao-Wen Chou, Taiwanese American Ingrid Yang follows down a mysterious archival reference in Chou's Disorientation and ends up acknowledging her anger with academia and white institutions generally. Following up Clark's own questions about the children of victims of Argentina's Dirty War in the 1970s, On a Night of a Thousand Stars features Paloma, an Argentine diplomat's college-age daughter, whose probing questions about her father's involvement in the military dictatorship put her family, her sense of self, and her very life in danger (30,000-copy first printing). In Friedman's Here Lies, climate change-mauled 2040s Louisiana requires cremation rather than burial at death, and Alma fights to reclaim her mother's ashes for a final journey. Cofounder of the Lit Camp Writers Conference, Kravetz reimagines events surrounding the composition of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar in The Last Confessions of Sylvia P., which are related from the perspectives of Plath's psychiatrist, a nasty rival poet, and a curator years later (100,000-copy first printing). A Canadian film and television producer (she's responsible for the hit CBC series Little Mosque on the Prairie), Nawaz crafts the story of a feckless young woman whose new imam expects better of her, and though there's the risk that Jameela Green Ruins Everything, she is on the case in an absurdist sort of way when he disappears. In Ronan's Chevy's in the Hole, a white man struggling to kick his drug habit and a Black woman working as an urban farmer try to make a go of it together in Flint, MI, as the water is becoming poisoned, with family histories woven in (50,000-copy first printing). In Stringfellow's Memphis, ten-year-old Joan flees her father's violence with her mother and sister to the house built in the historic Black district of Memphis by her grandfather, who was lynched only days after becoming the city's first Black detective.

        Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 15, 2021
        Chou debuts with a zany if uneven romp through American academia and cultural assimilation. PhD student Ingrid Yang is desperate to write a dissertation that will impress her committee and earn her a postdoc fellowship that will put off her student loan payments. Her subject, the late canonical Chinese American poet Xiao-Wen Chou, once taught at her school, the mid-range Barnes University in Massachusetts, and Chou’s legacy is a crucial source of Barnes’s prestige. As Ingrid doggedly investigates a mysterious note found in Chou’s archives, she wrestles with estrangement from her ancestral Chinese culture, anxiety over the male gaze—she wonders if her white fiancé merely has a fetish for Asian women—and frets about her own attraction to white men. There’s also her friend Eunice Kim, a hyper-gorgeous Korean girl; Eunice’s younger brother, Alex, Eunice’s tough yet insecure male counterpart; and Michael Bartholomew, the orientalizing professor in Barnes’s primarily white East Asian Studies department. Sometimes the portraits feel a bit too cartoonish—there is a moment, for instance, when Eunice is described as “impeccable, ready to guest star in a music video”—but overall Chou effectively skewers a world that takes itself all too seriously, particularly after Ingrid makes an explosive discovery about Chou that could compromise Barnes. This will charm a wide set of readers, not just those pursuing PhDs. Agent: Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2022
        A debut novelist takes on campus politics. Ingrid Yang is about to turn 30. She's been working on her Ph.D. for eight years, she's about to run out of funding, and her dissertation is a handful of notes on a writer she never wanted to write about in the first place. Xiao-Wen Chou's work is anodyne and unchallenging, but, before he died, he was Barnes University's most famous faculty member, and Ingrid's adviser thinks that studying Chou will allow her to explore her own "Chinese heritage"--never mind that her family is actually from Taiwan. A shocking discovery about her subject takes her work in a new direction and turns her world upside down. This is a promising setup, but author Chou doesn't seem to know what to do with it. There are moments that seem to be aiming for screwball comedy--such as when Ingrid and her best friend, Eunice, engage in some breaking and entering--but they're not funny. There are definitely attempts at satire, but Chou's takes on both political correctness and the people who hate it are generally facile. For example, Ingrid's adviser begins as a White guy who immerses himself in Chinese culture and ends up a right-wing pundit with a rabid following. The connection between intellectual and artistic colonization and White nationalism is an interesting one, but Chou makes the choice to turn a subtly ridiculous character into a cartoon villain instead of interrogating that connection. Ingrid's nemesis, campus activist Vivian Vo, follows a similar trajectory. She's introduced as a caricature of a social justice warrior and eventually becomes truly malevolent. At a superficial level, this is the story of Ingrid becoming socially conscious. In some scenes, Chou does a great job of showing the reader why Ingrid is reluctant to identify as East Asian. In others, though, Ingrid comes across as not merely dismissive of Vivian and her ideas, but mostly unaware of the conversations about race that have been taking place on college campuses since at least the 1990s. Her dogged ignorance takes some of the shine off what is presented as a triumphant awakening. Ideas worth examining get buried beneath weak character development.

        COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2022
        Writing a dissertation is daunting enough without having your faith in institutions and your own personal world crumble around you. That's what happens to Ingrid Yang, the Taiwanese American protagonist in Chou's engaging, humorous, and biting debut novel of academia, cancel culture, and Asian representation. Ingrid finds herself going down a rabbit hole while researching a Chinese American poet forced upon her by her white adviser, and discovering that neither man is who he seems to be. This causes her to question her white fianc�'s intentions as a translator of Japanese works. When a campus kerfuffle erupts over a play's racially insensitive casting, Ingrid finds herself involved with the POC caucus and dismantling her own internalized racism and challenging the same assumptions in others. Chou's distinct, self-effacing voice makes for a fun ride into a highly charged realm, with a plot that naturally escalates as she looks into various claims about truth in art, who appropriates whom, the limits of allyship, and how we gaslight ourselves in order to accept everyday racial horrors. The narration includes news articles, research excerpts, ransom notes, and even one highly comical courtroom-transcript version of Ingrid's inner monologue. Overall, Chou reflects a world that's complex and entertaining, one that will leave readers with a renewed perspective.

        COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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“The funniest, most poignant novel of the year.” —Vogue
Disorientation does what great comedies and satires are supposed to do: make you laugh while forcing you to ponder the uncomfortable implications of every punchline.” The Washington Post
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 junk food addiction and stomach pain. When she accidentally stumbles upon a curious note in the Chou archives one afternoon, she convinces herself it’s her ticket out of academic hell.
 
But...
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