Much-anticipated for its “fierce, fresh language,” Jay Caspian Kang’s debut novel melds pop culture, sports fandom, and high literature into a trippy neo-noir novel. Join us on for a reading and discussion with Grantland editor Jay Caspian Kang and writer Hua Hsu.
Meet Phil Kim- twentysomething MFA grad and online Personal Break-Up Coach. His mundane pattern of smoking joints in between emails to broken-hearted men is interrupted when he find himself mixed up with Mission Street gangsters and a vegan eco-cult after the mysterious death of a neighbor. Next up is Siddhartha Finch, SFPD homicide detective and avid surfer, named by a hippie mother who force-fed him natural remedies and Eastern religion. These are the two unlikely protagonists of Jay Caspian Kang’s much anticipated debut novel The Dead Do Not Improve. Likened to Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn and Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase (Wall Street Journal Asia), the novel reads like a whodunit about love, post-grad boredom, and the Internet Age. Don’t let the Dirty Harry motifs fool you; Kang’s got something to say about race, class, and privilege too—not to mention a tongue-in-cheek literary reading of Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui as the apogee of repressed Korean American male anger. The Boston Globe calls The Dead Do Not Improve, “Loopy, hilarious, neo-noir novel… an extremely smart, funny debut, with moments of haunting beauty.” Following the reading will be a Q&A lead by Grantland contributor Hua Hsu.
The journalist and debut fiction writer chats with fellow Grantland writer Hua Hsu about his novel, grading papers, and Duck Down videos @ The Margins
Jay Caspian Kang was born in Seoul and grew up in North Carolina. He is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and works as an editor at Grantland. His debut novel The Dead Do Not Improve was released August of 2012. He lives in Los Angeles.
Hua Hsu is a staff writer at Grantland. He has written about popular culture and politics for Artforum, the Atlantic (for whom he blogged from 2009-2011), the Believer, Bookforum, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New York Times, the Paris Review, Slate and the Village Voice. His 2009 cover story for the Atlantic, “The End of White America?” was widely anthologized. He was on the editorial board of the New Literary History of America and he teaches in the English Department at Vassar College.