Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tender-hearted, balancing acerbic humour with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian-Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship and family.
A high school badminton coach and failing grocery store owner tries to relive his glory days by beating a rising star teenage player. Two drunken brothers attend a wedding afterparty and hatch a plan to expose their shady uncle's snubbing of the bride and groom. A queer love affair sparks between an older tech entrepreneur trying to launch a 'safe space' app and a disillusioned young teacher obsessed with Moby-Dick. And in the sweeping final story, a nine-year-old child learns that his mother survived a racist school shooter.
With nuanced emotional precision, gritty humour and compassionate insight into the intimacy of queer and immigrant communities, the stories in Afterparties deliver an explosive introduction to the work of Anthony Veasna So.
“A stunning collection from an exciting new voice.” BRIT BENNETT, author of The Vanishing Half
“A bright and fearless debut, full of heart, joy and unforgettable characters.” DOUGLAS STUART
“I was in awe through the entire collection - and you will be, too. Afterparties is an actual marvel. “BRYAN WASHINGTON, author of Lot and Memorial
“A wildly energetic, heartfelt, original debut by a young writer of exceptional promise. These stories, powered by So's skill with the telling detail, are like beams of wry, affectionate light, falling from different directions on a complicated, struggling, beloved American community.” GEORGE SAUNDERS
“The mind-frying hilarity of Anthony Veasna So's first book of fiction settles him as the genius of social satire our age needs now more than ever. Few writers can handle firm plot action and wrenching pathos in such elegant prose. This unforgettable new voice is at once poetic and laugh-out-loud funny. “ MARY KARR, author of The Liars' Club
“Anthony Veasna So is a terrific writer. These wild, complex and funny stories are brilliant in every way. One of the most exciting debuts of the past decade.” DANA SPIOTTA, author of Innocents and Others
“Karen Russell, Carmen Maria Machado, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah - you can count on one hand the authors of this century whose debut short-story collections are as prodigious and career-making as Afterparties.” Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges