K-Ming Chang reads from her new collection
Gods of Want: Stories
published by One World Books
Startling stories that center the bodies, memories, myths, and relationships of Asian American women, from the National Book Award “5 Under 35” honoree and author of Bestiary
In “Auntland,” a steady stream of aunts adjust to American life by sneaking surreptitious kisses from women at temple, buying tubs of vanilla ice cream to prepare for citizenship tests, and hatching plans to name their daughters “Dog.” In “The Chorus of Dead Cousins,” ghost-cousins cross space, seas, and skies to haunt their live-cousin, wife to a storm chaser. In “Xífù,” a mother-in-law tortures a wife in increasingly unsuccessful attempts to rid the house of her. In “Mariela,” two girls explore one another’s bodies for the first time in the belly of a plastic shark, while in “Virginia Slims,” a woman from a cigarette ad comes to life. And in “Resident Aliens,” a former slaughterhouse serves as a residence to a series of widows, each harboring her own calamitous secrets. With each tale, K-Ming Chang gives us her own take on a surrealism that mixes myth and migration, corporeality and ghostliness, queerness and the quotidian. Stunningly told in her feminist fabulist style, these are uncanny stories peeling back greater questions of power and memory.
K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She is the author of the novel Bestiary, which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.
Praise for the work of K-Ming Chang:
“No one writes like K-Ming Chang. Wise, energetic, funny, and wild, Gods of Want displays a boundless imagination anchored by the weight of ancestors and history. These stories sing, a true force to behold.”—Kali Fajardo-Anstine, author of Sabrina & Corina and Woman of Light
“These stories glitter and pulse, announcing Chang, with her second book, as a front-runner of innovation anew. Full of mythic desire, joy and pain disguised as the other, and navigating the precarious balance of how to belong to a land while still belonging to oneself, Gods of Want is bursting with language and images so striking, so sure of their own strength, I found myself stunned. The worlds and characters depicted in these pages are original, strange, sometimes-horrific, and all the more gorgeous because of it.”—Dantiel W. Moniz, author of Milk Blood Heat
“In the genre of feminine madness, these stories are to be worshipped. They are fearless, hysterical, violent yet full of grace. Each sentence escalates toward devastating, poetic insight about our bodies, about cultural demands both treasured and feared, and about what makes being alive a terror and a joy.”—Venita Blackburn, author of How to Wrestle a Girl
“The beauty, humor, and brilliance throughout Gods of Want shines brightly from story to story—Chang’s collection is constantly illuminating and thoroughly astounding. K-Ming Chang’s mastery of language, and the boundlessness of her empathy, make for a strange, hilarious, and unforgettable read. Gods of Want is a gift and a master class, a stunning and moving work by one of our most brilliant authors.”—Bryan Washington, author of Lot and Memorial
“This book traces a line from old worlds to new worlds by means of the bloody umbilical cords that stretch between them. . . . These stories unthread the tangled relationships between mothers and daughter, aunts and cousins, siblings and lovers . . . a lingering sense that language, as well as life, is infinitely adaptable, no matter the ground on which it is given to grow. Lurid, funny, strange, and deftly sorrowing—an important new voice.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
This event was made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation.