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Reading Together 2024

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

In the News

Yellowface is turning up on many “best books of the year” lists. See for yourself!

About the Book

Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena’s a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn’t even get a paperback release. Nobody 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 to the British and French war efforts 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 is? 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 takes on questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the persistent erasure of Asian-American voices and history by Western white society. R. F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.

About the Author

Rebecca F. Kuang is the award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of thephoto of author RF Kuang Poppy War trilogy, and Babel: An Arcane History, and Yellowface. 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.


Kalamazoo Public Library would like to acknowledge the support and guidance of the following individuals and organizations that have participated in the selection and programming process for Reading Together 2024.

Zoey Blake Andy Mozina Nina Boismier Nathan Nguyen
Sandra De La Cruz Tello Pamela Rups Vun Doubblestein Namita Sharma
Theodore Gill Sara Volmering Lisa Godfrey Sakhi Vyas
Asia Haywood Sara Weyenberg Caitlin Hoag Karen Woodworth
Aimee Jachym Ying Zeng Denise Miller Portage District Library
Parchment Community Library Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society Western Michigan University University Libraries

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