Hsu’s memoir presents itself as a coming-of-age story: an account of the author’s experience as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley in the 1990s and his extraordinary, and ultimately tragic, friendship with a Japanese American student named Ken. But the writing here—not only the prose, which is lovely and understated, but also the nuance of the narrative—takes the book to a different level, especially when it comes to grief. Hsu comes from a Taiwanese immigrant family; he defines himself by what he is not. Ken is more at ease, although in reality both are on the outside looking in. When Ken is killed in a carjacking, Hsu must confront the weight of everything he has lost. Such a reckoning sits at the center of this beautiful and heartfelt work.•
AUTHOR HUA HSU IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN FREEMAN
When: Thursday, July 20, 2023, 5 p.m. Pacific time.
Format: Freeman will lead a free hour-long conversation with Hsu, which will include a reading by him and questions from the audience. Produced by Alta Journal for streaming on Zoom.