Dear Cyborgs

Eugene Lim. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $14 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-374-53711-1
Two radically different story lines—one involving a short-lived friendship between two Asian-American boys in the Midwest, the other an ongoing philosophical debate amongst a team of superheroes—are cleverly tied together in this short, sly, unorthodox novel. Opening in suburban Ohio, the first chapter describes the intense bond formed, mostly over comic books, between the narrator and his classmate, Vu, before a sudden move to Chicago separates them. The story’s focus abruptly shifts to the superheroes known as Team Chaos, who dine in Thai restaurants and sing karaoke amidst discussions of Occupy Wall Street, diversification as assimilation, performance artist Tehching Hsieh, activist Richard Aoki, and more. Back in “reality,” the narrator marries, divorces, and has a child, but a sharp awareness of Vu’s absence continues to haunt him, which makes their coincidental reunion (and the retrospective depth that it adds to the superheroes’ conversations) an immensely satisfying closing chapter. Some might find Lim’s (The Strangers) bricolage style too disorienting, but others will revel in how it mirrors the characters’ alienation and confused search for answers. The core relationships, whether they’re between estranged childhood friends or opinionated superhumans, are real and profoundly moving. Agent: Marya Spence, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 06/06/2017
Genre: Fiction
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