Book Chamber: June Choice

from Constance Hornig, Book Chamber Chair

June 1, 2021

“. . .Willis explains the vagaries of the actor’s life: “When you die, it sucks. The first thing that happens is that you can’t work for forty-five days.” Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu.

This month’s choice is winner of the National Book Awards Best Fiction 2020.  A comedy?  Yes, in an ombre-colored way.  (After all, it satirizes Hollywood typecasting. . . and more.) The protagonist, Generic Asian Man Wallis Wu, plays bit-roles in movies but yearns to act full-face, up-front, in the limelight.  Charles Yu formats his tale in TV-script form, Courier type, all in episodes: he wanders on and off screen as Asian Delivery Man in the background of the cop show Black and White, featuring  – what else? – black and white stars, but no Asians; he ruminates in monologues; and he portrays his Taiwanese family and other second-generation Thai, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese neighbors living above the Golden Palace restaurant.  Laugh (wryly) with the Book Chamber on June 15 (3rd Tuesday).