Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu is a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. The book hit the shelves in January 2020. Interior Chinatown is one of the finalists for the National Book awards 2020.
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Willis Wu does not perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He’s merely a Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be background oriental making a weird face or even disgraced son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production.
He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy — the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that’s what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more. Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet.
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