A NovelBook - 2017
A Summer Read Pick by Nylon, Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, Wired and Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"Wondrous . . . [A] sense of the erratic and tangential quality of everyday life--even if it's displaced into a bizarre, parallel world--drifts off the page, into the world you see, after reading Dear Cyborgs ." --Hua Hsu, The New Yorker
In a small Midwestern town, two Asian American boys bond over their outcast status and a mutual love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternative or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes ponder modern society during their time off. Between black-ops missions and rescuing hostages, they swap stories of artistic malaise and muse on the seemingly inescapable grip of market economics.
Gleefully toying with the conventions of the novel, Dear Cyborgs weaves together the story of a friendship's dissolution with a provocative and timely meditation on protest. Through a series of linked monologues, a lively cast of characters explores narratives of resistance--protest art, eco-terrorists, Occupy squatters, pyromaniacal militants--and the extent to which any of these can truly withstand and influence the cold demands of contemporary capitalism. All the while, a mysterious cybernetic book of clairvoyance beckons, and trusted allies startto disappear.
Entwining comic-book villains with cultural critiques, Eugene Lim's Dear Cyborgs is a fleet-footed literary exploration of power, friendship, and creativity. Ambitious and knowing, it combines detective pulps, subversive philosophy, and Hollywood chase scenes, unfolding like the composites and revelations of a dream.
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What was expected was a slightly modified coming-of-age novel that traded on my Korean-American identity. Something not too obviously an assimilation tale--yet also something not to much a deviation from that sellable idea, so that the marketplace of culture could easily absorb my story without being too discomfited. Even if no one had said this aloud, to me it was as clear as day that this was the assignment.
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