Hua Hsu's beautiful memoir is seriously cool, poignant and consequential and has won the Pulitzer for 2023. As an author and columnist for the New Yorker, he is well credentialed to write an engaging memoir. Child of Taiwanese immigrants growing up in the Bay area of San Francisco, Hua offers an insider view of the Asian-American diaspora at a time of huge cultural and social change, chatrooms the birth of email and internet.
The memoir largely deals with friendships of his college days in particular one with Ken a fellow Asian American. The carefree camaraderie of perusing vinyl stores and writing articles for his 'zine' is a wonderful portrait of the heady days of youth. The percussive impact of Ken's senseless random killing leaves him bereft, rattled and curious about the nature of evil and violence. This memoir reveals a profound mind and was a real pleasure to engage with on ever level.