The Los Angeles Public Library is urging patrons to take part in the National Endowment for the Arts “Big Read.”
The selection this year is “Interior Chinatown” by Charles Yu and there will be free copies available at the Palisades Library as long as supplies last. This book won the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction.
In conjunction with the book, on May 13, at noon, there will be a discussion and a film “Yellowface: Asian Whitewashing and Racism in Hollywood at the Palisades Branch Library, 861 Alma Real.
This is a personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration and escaping the roles we are forced to play.
The book’s character Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as the protagonist in his own life: he’s merely a generic Asian man. Every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain.
He stumbles into the spotlight and is launched into a wider world, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family.
The New York Times writes that the novel “recalls the humorous and heartfelt short stories of George Saunders, the metafictional high jinks of Mark Leyner, and films like The Truman Show.