"I maintain that often the best prose is written by poets, and Dear Chrysanthemums supports this. A great companion to Convenience Store Woman, this rich collection presents the reader with Asian diasporic experiences throughout the 20th and 21st century. The images and language will stick with you as you move through the world."
A startling and vivid debut novel in stories from acclaimed poet and translator Fiona Sze-Lorrain featuring deeply compelling Asian women who reckon with the past, violence, and exileset in Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Paris, and New York. Cooking for Madame Chiang, 1946: Two cooks work for Madame Chiang Kai-shek and prepare a foreign dish craved by their mistress, which becomes a political weapon and leads to their tragic end. Death at the Wukang Mansion, 1966: Punished for her extramarital affair, a dancer is transferred to Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution and assigned to an ominous apartment in a building whose other residents often depart in coffins. The White Piano, 1996: A budding pianist from New York City settles down in Paris and is assaulted when a mysterious piano arrives from Singapore. The Invisible Window, 2016: After their exile following the Tiananmen Square massacre, three women gather in a French cathedral to renew their friendship and reunite in their grief and faith. Evocative, vivid, disturbing, and written with a masterly ear for language, Dear Chrysanthemums renders a devastating portrait of diasporic life and inhumanity, as well as a tender web of shared memory, artistic expression, and love.