An Excess Male

Maggie Shen King. Harper Voyager, $15.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-266255-2
In King’s thoughtful, heartbreaking debut, set in near-future Beijing, China’s one-child policy and cultural preference for boys have led to 40 million more men than women. Wei-guo, in his early 40s, is hoping to become part of a polyandrous “advanced family” while navigating a stifling society that considers him unnecessary. Leading his team at Strategic Games is no longer entirely fulfilling; he’s ready to fall in love. He’s thrilled to be matched with a family made up of the big, brash Hann; the socially awkward, brilliant Xiong-xin, aka XX; and, most importantly, the lovely May-ling. The narrative toggles among the main characters, offering insight into each. May-ling is overwhelmed by their rambunctious toddler son, BeiBei, and in love with Hann, even though he is secretly gay, or “willfully sterile.” XX and May-ling don’t really want to be married to each other. A scary twist in the third act keeps the pages turning. King expertly explores the myriad routes to family, hope, and love in a repressive country. Agent: David Fugate, LaunchBooks Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/10/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-5406-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-5384-5407-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-279085-9
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-06-266257-6
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