For me, this line sets the tone for one of the most thoughtful and important books I’ve read in years. I had to stop for a minute, think about it for a while. Much of this book is like that–lines that you could pass by, but you can’t because you know that you are going to recognize something here that is percolating away within yourself and within our communities (and this recognition is powerful). In this book, she has raised something within us as a community and there is no turning back. She might be writing about the uncertainty of Asian Americanness as an identity or as a people, or about the revolutionary comedy of Richard Pryor or of the unknown life of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (one of the foremothers of Asian American avant-garde writing) or of the consequence of losing one’s innocence…and she writes about all of this. All this year, I’ve been saying, this book woke me up. And now, I have to live up to it. What about you?
–Karen Maeda Allman, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
From the publisher:
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative—and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world.
Binding these essays together is Hong’s theory of “minor feelings.” As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these “minor feelings” occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality—when you believe the lies you’re told about your own racial identity. Minor feelings are not small, they’re dissonant—and in their tension Hong finds the key to the questions that haunt her.
With sly humor and a poet’s searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche—and of a writer’s search to both uncover and speak the truth.
This was one of fifteen titles Karen Maeda Allman, bookseller and author events coordinator of Elliott Bay Book Company, recommended in an article by Naomi Ishisaka in The Seattle Times this week. The book is backordered around the country, but the publisher is printing more. Contact Elliott Bay Book Company or your local independent bookseller to sign up for a copy as soon as the book is available again.