Imagine smashing speculative fiction, literary fiction, romance, and apocalyptic fiction into a hybrid, multimedia work, and you have a basic idea of what Dukkha, My Love is, at least conceptually.Read More
Like the Bechdel Test, these ten rules are not intended to be the final word on any work by, from, or about Asian American literature, but rather, should be treated as the first critical lens that readers (can) use to call out and contest orientalism in publishing while also serving as a mandatory metric by which all readers (can) hold APIA writing accountable, as well as the presses that publish those works by and about us. The following test allows all of us to expect more of ourselves, of our readers, and of the publishing industry at large, but it is only a first step in a life of engaged reading.Read More
Men Without Women is a familiar, easily identifiable, and oddly comforting book for the Murakami reader, privileging the emotional landscape of lonely Japanese men through scaffolding characterization, personal idiosyncrasy, and monkey-wrench narratives instead of dramatic Hollywood plot lines, food porn, or cultural didacticism.Read More
After mom got remarried to a white architect, my twin brother and I moved to Wacker Drive to live in the future. For Yoshi and me, the honeycombed Marina Towers were a time warp to another dimension.Read More
I got the great news yesterday that my short story "Conspiracy of Lemons," which is part of my conceptual short story collection, City of Sand, was accepted in Witness, a journal I've been sending submissions to off and on since 2010. It's incredibly satisfying to finally get a piece in that literary journal. Stay tuned!
My big wish for this upcoming month is that literary agents who state they want literary fiction in their agent profiles actually want literary fiction and not commercial fiction with a few literary flourishes. I say this because having looked at some of the good rejections I've received the past couple of years, I've noticed most of these rejections were by literary agents who said they wanted literary fiction on their website but still rejected my manuscripts for being, well, literary and stuff. It's complete speculation on my part, but here are some possible reasons for that:
1. The agent prides her/himself on representing literary fiction but most of her/his client list is actually (or has become) commercial fiction, so including the category of "literary fiction" in their list of desired genres is more about how they see themselves as an agent and less about the kinds of manuscripts they actually sell to editors these days
2. The literary agent has a divergent definition of literary fiction (that more and more resembles uptown fiction or top-tier commercial fiction), which is why s/he gets snarly when you declare foolishly that "literary fiction doesn't sell"
3. The agent doesn't want to feel like a complete and absolute sellout because who does?
4. S/he is keeping her/his options open, but literary fiction has become more aspirational than vocational.
5. The term literary, as all other genres, just doesn't have stable genre conventions and doesn't mean shit anymore, so it's almost impossible to define and just as impossible to exclude other overlapping genre conventions
6. All literature, in one amorphous sense, is literary (right?)
7. If an agent could know ahead of time that a manuscript would sell for one million dollars, they'd probably accept it regardless of its genre, so literary fiction isn't out of the question technically
8. The agent used to look for and sell literary fiction actively, but as the market has contracted and as Amazon has taken over the world, s/he has become much more conservative in the kinds of authors s/he represents, and commercial fiction has always had a better payout. So, finding the next Pulitzer prize winner has become much less important than paying the mortgage
9. The agent, once a brave and fearless bellwether in the publishing industry (whose "experimental" authors once violated rules of form, structure, and content gleefully) has dug his/her heels in and now rejects more and more literary fiction and accepts more cookbooks and dystopian YA knock-offs because there's already a pre-manufactured audience. Yes, s/he has literary authors, but s/he's had them for thirty years and they're remnants of the golden age of literary fiction
10. Why the hell not?