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Minor Feelings: Book summary and reviews of Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong

Minor Feelings

An Asian American Reckoning

by Cathy Park Hong

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong X
Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2020
    224 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America.

Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative—and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world.

Binding these essays together is Hong's theory of "minor feelings." As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality—when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity. Minor feelings are not small, they're dissonant—and in their tension Hong finds the key to the questions that haunt her. 

With sly humor and a poet's searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche—and of a writer's search to both uncover and speak the truth.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Her confrontational prose maintains a poet's lyricism...Combining cultural criticism and personal exploration, Hong constructs a trenchant examination of race in America." - Publishers Weekly

"Candid and unapologetically political, Hong's text deftly explores the explosive emotions surrounding race in ways sure to impact the discourse surrounding Asian identity as well as race and belonging in America. A provocatively incisive debut nonfiction book." - Kirkus Reviews

"An extraordinary blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and history that will invite readers from all backgrounds, though especially those who identify as Asian American, to consider the complex relationships between race, family, heritage, and society that shape American lives." - Library Journal

"Cathy Park Hong's brilliant, penetrating, and unforgettable Minor Feelings is what was missing from our shelf of classics. She brings acute intelligence, scholarly knowledge, and recognizable vulnerability to the formation of a new school of thought she names minor feelings. In conversation with Sianne Ngai's Ugly Feelings, Hong charts her emotional life as a Korean American immigrant woman, thereby shattering the concept of a single story of the Asian experience. Minor Feelings builds through what Hong names a 'racialized range of emotions,' which are routinely dismissed by others. To read this book is to become more human." - Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen

"Minor Feelings is anything but minor. In these provocative and passionate essays, Cathy Park Hong gives us an incendiary account of what it means to be and to feel Asian American today. Minor Feelings is absolutely necessary." - Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sympathizer and The Refugees

"Cathy Park Hong's Minor Feelings truly delivers news we can use. It will educate some and inspire hallelujahs from others; people will productively argue with it, be inspired by it, think and feel with and around it. Hong says the book was 'a dare to herself,' and she makes good on it: by writing into the heart of her own discomfort, she emerges with a reckoning destined to become a classic." - Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts and Bluets

The information about Minor Feelings shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Cathy Park Hong

Cathy Park Hong is the author of three poetry collections including Dance Dance Revolution, chosen by Adrienne Rich for the Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Engine Empire. Hong is a recipient of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her poems have been published in Poetry, the New York Times, the Paris Review, McSweeney's, Boston Review, and other journals. She is the poetry editor of the New Republic and full professor at the Rutgers University–Newark MFA program in poetry.

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