A debut story collection about Cambodian-American life—immersive and comic, yet unsparing—that marks the arrival of an indisputable new talent in American fiction
Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family.
A high school badminton coach and failing grocery store owner tries to relive his glory days by beating a rising star teenage player. Two drunken brothers attend a wedding afterparty and hatch a plan to expose their shady uncle's snubbing of the bride and groom. A queer love affair sparks between an older tech entrepreneur trying to launch a "safe space" app and a disillusioned young teacher obsessed with Moby-Dick. And in the sweeping final story, a nine-year-old child learns that his mother survived a racist school shooter.
With nuanced emotional precision, gritty humor, and compassionate insight into the intimacy of queer and immigrant communities, the stories in Afterparties deliver an explosive introduction to the work of Anthony Veasna So.
"Afterparties weaves through a Cambodian-American community in the shadow of genocide, following the children of refugees as they grapple with the complexities of masculinity, class, and family. Anthony Veasna So explores the lives of these unforgettable characters with bracing humor and startling tenderness. A stunning collection from an exciting new voice." — Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half
"The sheer richness and energy of So's narratives can't be overstated--his characters are full of love, and full of longing, and full of laughter, and full of the possibilities that life offers them and also the ones it hides. It's rare and magical and wild to find queer life, as it's actually lived, on the page--or on any pages--with all its multiplicities and creases and paradoxes and curves, and yet So lays it out for us, sparing nothing and giving everything. I was in awe through the entire collection--and you will be, too. Afterparties is an actual marvel." — Bryan Washington, author of Memorial
Anthony Veasna So is a graduate of Stanford University and earned his MFA in fiction at Syracuse University. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, n+1, Granta, and ZYZZYVA. Born and raised in Stockton, California, he lives in San Francisco.
- Publisher: Ecco (August 3, 2021)
- Language: English
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- ISBN-10: 0063049902
- ISBN-13: 9780063049901
- Item Weight: 1.42 pounds
- UNSPSC: 55101500