Infinite Country – Patricia Engel

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These love letters are so delicate that there’s little point packing them in luggage and bringing them back with us. So I’m just eating them every day instead. And enjoying it with a mug of milky tea and Patricia Engel’s Infinite Country

This book is about a family who moves from Colombia to the US and the father’s deportation. It’s a book that asks, what is home? Where is home? Is it one where your family is? Is it one where you can live your life to its fullest? 

Back in Singapore after more than two years of not seeing our families, we are ourselves asking these very questions. Where do we belong? Is it where my children were born and have been growing up? Or is it where I was born? Where I grew up? 

This book asks if America was the right choice. And that’s something I wonder too. 

Another book on the Tournament of Books list.

Afterparties – Anthony Veasna So

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.

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