Enthralling Asian American Fiction

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

Favorite fiction titles written by Asian American authors. Some of these books will make you laugh, some cry, and all will captivate you until the end.

  • Chemistry

    2017 by Wang, Weike

    Though brief, this novel is both wryly humorous and poignant. A PhD candidate in chemistry, whose boyfriend has just proposed, has to figure out what she wants apart from the expectations of her Chinese immigrant parents and her secure and successful boyfriend. Easily relatable to anyone who hasn't got everything figured out yet. I loved it. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • How Much of These Hills Is Gold

    2020 by Zhang, C Pam

    Zhang's debut is a family story about a pair of orphan siblings that are left in the midst of the American gold rush. Kirkus states, "Zhang asks readers to acknowledge a legacy we have been taught to ignore by creating a new and spellbinding mythology of her own. Aesthetically arresting and a vital contribution to America's conversation about itself." Recommended by Becca.

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  • No One Can Pronounce My Name

    2017 by Satyal, Rakesh

    In a suburb outside Cleveland, a community of Indian Americans has settled into lives that straddle the divide between Eastern and Western cultures. The New York Times says, "This is a brave portrait that sheds light on the parts of Indian culture that are seldom seen by those outside it." Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home in the World


    A second ground-breaking anthology of Asian American fiction features 42 selections from Jose Garcia Villa, Wakako Yamauchi, Akhil Sharma, Ruth Ozeki, Chang-Rae Lee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Monique Truong, and other new and established authors who represent the full spectrum of the Asian American experience. Recommended by Chris.

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  • Mona in the Promised Land

    1997 by Jen, Gish

    Unhappy with her own ethnic group, Mona Chang, a Chinese American, decides to become a Jew. After all, if one has to live as a minority, choose the best. A witty look at ethnicity, multiculturalism, and the melting pot. I remember loving the main character, Mona, when I read this book. She was very real and delightful. Recommended by Lukie.

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  • Interior Chinatown

    2020 by Yu, Charles

    One of the funniest, most creative, and deliciously clever books I read this year. Its own brand of metafiction (it’s written as a screenplay), a tightrope work of conceptualism that never falters. It’s also a trenchant exploration of what it means (and doesn’t mean) to be Asian American. One you want to share with others. Recommended by Chris and Lukie.

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  • Behind My Eyes

    2008 by Lee, Li-Young

    A collection of poems by one of the most beloved poets. "Lee’s lyrics have a tidal sweep as he moves between the universe within and the world without.” (Booklist) Recommended by Chris.

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  • My Year Abroad

    2021 by Lee, Chang-rae

    From the award-winning author of Native Speaker and On Such a Full Sea, an exuberant, provocative story about a young American life transformed by an unusual Asian adventure—and about the human capacities for pleasure, pain, and connection. “A manifesto to happiness—the one found when you stop running from who you are.” (New York Times) Recommended by Chris.

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  • The Wangs vs. the World

    2016 by Chang, Jade

    Hilarious yet moving, this book imagines what a road trip could possibly look like for a Chinese American family. Beauty and humor are both present in this book, with family sitting at its center. Recommended by Paul.

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  • The Color of Air

    2020 by Tsukiyama, Gail

    Set in Hawaii in the 1930s, this is a story of a community who comes together after the eruption of a nearby volcano. Per Kirkus, "The dialogue flows easily, and the landscape is rendered with such vibrance that the reader will become fully immersed in the sensory details. Well-paced and lush, this is a captivating historical novel that shows the power of love and human resilience." Recommended by Becca.

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  • If You Leave Me

    2018 by Kim, Crystal Hana

    Weaving familial dynamics, romance, and Korean history, Crystal Hana Kim presents a multilayered story of what many Koreans experienced while under the control of Japan and afterwards, during the Korean War. Recommended by Paul.

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  • Green Island

    2016 by Ryan, Shawna Yang

    An epic tale that covers five-and-a-half decades of Taiwanese history through the eyes of one family. Publishers Weekly calls it, "a significant work, full of carefully researched detail that results in a moving and indelible story." Recommended by Becca.

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