Afterparties - Stories by Anthony So - Book Review
Afterparties is a collection of stories by Cambodian-American author Anthony So, who passed away unexpectedly last year at the age of 28. The stories are novel in that they are about Cambodian-American life, something that had not yet been published in the New Yorker, and cool to read as an immigrant and a Cambodian-American myself. I felt an ability to relate but also a sense of uncomfortable-ness as he touched topics such as reincarnation, the Khmer Rouge, and even gay threesomes.
TL/DR: Read Afterparties for insight into the perspective of a gay, Californian Cambodian-American's imaginings of Cambodian/immigrant/family life. Sort of like the story of So, whose life got cut short, these stories just provide a snippet into the Cambodian-American perspective, and I was left wanting more of an emotional connection to characters.
There are nine stories are:
- Three Women of Chuck's Donuts
- Superking Son Scores Again
- Maly, Maly, Maly
- The Shop
- The Monks
- We Would've Been Princes
- Human Development
- Somaly Serey, Serey Somaly
- Generational Differences
Almost as fascinating as the stories to me were the circumstances of So's death, described in this vulture article: https://www.vulture.com/article/anthony-veasna-so-afterparties.html.
My sister and at least one of my cousins are also reading this book, and she noted that: "I've never read anything by a Cambodian-American author." Although So has passed away, I'm excited that maybe some other Cambodian will publish non-fiction that will tell our stories, and he was just a starting point.
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