The Ethnic Literature Box

The Fourth Kingdom

I had an amazing time interviewing Don Lee for Guernica Magazine. We discussed books, writing, Orientalist book covers, his latest novel The Collective, and the trajectory of Asian American literature–all good stuff made even better by Don Lee’s candid and generous responses.

All it takes is a click to go read it. Hope you enjoy!

(And big thanks to Alexander Chee for pointing me in the direction of this opportunity).

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2 Comments

Filed under literary magazines, Writing

2 responses to “The Ethnic Literature Box

  1. Another nice post today thanks. I really enjoyed reading it very much. Have a great day.

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  2. Nate

    The book cover thing is fascinating to me. One of my old lit profs, Bill Savage, did some interesting work on cover art, specifically how cover art becomes more abstract as the author’s literary reputation (or that of the title) grows. The covers of popular fiction tend to feature an important object (like the murder weapon), character, or scene from the book, while literary stuff in the extreme will be just a blank field with the title info on it (think Catcher in the Rye.)

    Just a quick glance at Don Lee’s vs. Chang-Rae Lee’s covers on Amazon makes me wonder if the tendency to Orientalize Don Lee’s covers is a function of the racial ambiguity of Don’s name. Conscious or not, fair or not, if the Don’s sales tend to be better in the “Ethnic Box” you know that’s where the grubby invisible hand of the publisher is going to want to drag him. Good for him for vetoing it.

    Really great interview CZ, loved it!

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