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By R. F. Kuang
Yellowface by R. F. Kuang digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description


“Hard to put down, harder to forget.” — Stephen King, #1 New York Times bestselling author

White lies. Dark humor. Deadly consequences… Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American—in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from R.F. Kuang, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Babel. 

Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena’s a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. Who wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.

So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I.

So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song—complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.

But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation, as well as the terrifying alienation of social media. R.F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable. 

2009 Reviews

Beaming Face with Smiling Eyes“It’s coming of age giving going insane. Also low key a ghost story?”
Funny writingAddictiveFast-pacedUnpredictableRealistic settingComing of ageDarkThought-provokingRacism
Beaming Face with Smiling Eyes“This book is bananas! I love R.F. Kuang and I was intrigued (but afraid) to read this novel. I believe the reader can interpret what she's saying in many ways: a critic, a satirical piece, a crazy thriller or even a horror story. The important lessons are the points she tries to address in the tale. She talks about cultural appropriation, racism, white privilege and the fierce publishing industry. Well written and super engaging . The main villain chosen by the author is the Publishing industry. How their actions can make or break a career. Add the social media influence, and you have a feast. Kudos to Rebecca for speaking loudly and boldly about the industry backstage. I wish she had gone more in-depth. Wildly entertaining”
Diverse charactersBeautifully writtenAddictiveFast-pacedSuspensefulDark settingComicalDarkThought-provokingRacism
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“I’ve been excited to read this book for a while, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a very well written satire about the publishing industry, and it focuses on the racism, micro - aggressions and white privilege found there. The main character was extremely dislikable, as I’m sure the author intended, and this was needed for the author to get her own viewpoint across. I was hooked on the story which was full of suspense, and cleverly written. I will definitely be reading more from this author.”
SuspensefulUnpredictableThought-provokingRacismSexual assault
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“I've been looking forward to this for ages after hearing a lot of good things about it. It's an addictive page turner addressing themes of ambition, guilt, cultural appropriation and racism. An unlikeable and unreliable narrator guides you through the fascinating world of publishing. Very enjoyable”
Easy to readAddictiveRealistic settingThought-provoking
Thinking Face“Mixed feelings on this book and no idea whose “side” I’m on. Part of me hated June and thought what she was doing was so wrong while part of me admired her for taking advantage of her situation and making her successful. Very thought provoking on race and she advantages and discriminations that are present in nearly every industry.”
Characters change and growDiverse charactersMulti-layered charactersDescriptive writingSuspensefulUnpredictableComing of ageThought-provoking

About R. F. Kuang

Rebecca F. Kuang is the #1 New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Poppy War trilogy, Babel: An Arcane History, and Yellowface. Her work has won the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, and British Book Awards. A Marshall Scholar, she has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford. She is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale, where she studies diaspora, contemporary Sinophone literature, and Asian American literature.

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