Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He’s merely 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 old 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.
What the critics say
"I’m a big fan of Charles Yu’s writing because of his wit and inventiveness. These talents are front and center in the brilliant and hilarious Interior Chinatown, which satirizes the racist imagination and brings us deep into the humanity of those who suffer from - and struggle against - dehumanization." (Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer)
"Conflates history, sociology, and ethnography with the timeless evils of racism, sexism, and elitism in a multigenerational epic that’s both rollicking entertainment and scathing commentary.... Ingeniously draws on real-life Hollywood.... [The book’s] sobering reality will resonate with savvy readers." (Terry Hong, Booklist starred review)
"Brilliantly unexpected and inventive, Interior Chinatown upended all the things I was sure I knew about the insidious power of stereotypes and left me feeling a little more hopeful for our collective future. Charles Yu’s writing is transformative." (Jade Chang, author of The Wangs vs. the World)