The Souls of Yellow Folk: Book summary and reviews of The Souls of Yellow Folk by Wesley Yang

The Souls of Yellow Folk

Essays

by Wesley Yang

The Souls of Yellow Folk by Wesley Yang X
The Souls of Yellow Folk by Wesley Yang
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2018
    256 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

The National Magazine Award–winning writer's debut collection of incisive, stylish essays on race and gender.

One of the most acclaimed essayists of his generation, Wesley Yang writes about race and sex without the jargon, formulas, and polite lies that bore us all. His powerful debut, The Souls of Yellow Folk, does more than collect a decade's worth of cult-reputation essays - it corrals new American herds of pickup artists, school shooters, mandarin zombies, and immigrant strivers, and exposes them to scrutiny, empathy, and polemical force.

In his celebrated and prescient essay "The Face of Seung-Hui Cho," Yang explores the deranged logic of the Virginia Tech shooter. In his National Magazine Award–winning "Paper Tigers," he explores the intersection of Asian values and the American dream, and the inner torment of the child exposed to "tiger mother" parenting. And in his close reading of New York Magazine's popular Sex Diaries, he was among the first critics to take seriously today's Internet-mediated dating lives.

Yang catches these ugly trends early because he has felt at various times implicated in them, and he does not exempt himself from his radical honesty. His essays retain the thrill of discovery, the wary eye of the first explorer, and the rueful admission of the first exposed.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Yang provides piercing, prickly insight into the challenges Asian-Americans face from racial and cultural bias, with literary style." - Publishers Weekly

"An uneven collection of essays that ranges from fresh analyses of the lives of Asian-Americans to smart commentaries on pop-culture phenomena but doesn't cohere around a single subject or theme." - Kirkus

"While the narrative is strong, the selection and organization feels haphazard. Overall, though, this work serves as an introduction to a writer of significant promise." - Library Journal

"Nobody writes sentences (or profiles) like Wesley Yang. He is our Balzac." - Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot

"This is a spectacular essay collection, as eloquent and stylishly written as it is morally essential...A stunning achievement, this book deserves to be read and re-read for years to come." - Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

"Wesley Yang's unsparing vision always affects me powerfully." - Mark Greif, author of Against Everything

"A terrifically honest writer, Wesley Yang articulates feelings others are too afraid to call up, let alone confront. This collection is essential because it adheres to no ideology; Yang panders to no one. Instead, with sharp, and even Naipaulian, prose, he takes us deep into the discomfort zones of racial and political discourse." - Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs

"Wesley Yang's pen is sharp, his imagination adventurous and his empathy devastating. His words snap a messy world into focus." - Molly Young, author of D C-T!

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Author Information

Wesley Yang

Wesley Yang has published criticism, essays, and nonfiction features in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, the New York Times Book Review, New York Magazine, Esquire, Tablet, and n+1. His work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Magazine Writing, Best Creative Nonfiction, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives in Montreal.

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