Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning (Paperback)

Staff Pick Badge
Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
26 on hand, as of Sep 20 1:18am

Staff Reviews

In her book, Minor Feelings: an Asian American Reckoning, poet, critic and essayist Cathy Park Hong wrote: 
“For as long as I could remember, I have struggled to prove myself into existence.” 

For me, this line sets the tone for one of the most thoughtful and important books I’ve read in years. I had to stop for a minute, think about it for a while. Much of this book is like that--lines that you could pass by, but you can’t because you know that you are going to recognize something here that is percolating away within yourself and within our communities (and this recognition is powerful). In this book, she has raised something within us as a community and there is no turning back. She might be writing about the uncertainty of Asian Americanness as an identity or as a people, or about the revolutionary comedy of Richard Pryor or of the unknown life of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (one of the foremothers of Asian American avant guarde writing) or of the consequence of losing one’s innocence...and she writes about all of this. All this year, I’ve been saying, this book woke me up. And now, I have to live up to it. What about you?

— From Karen


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST - NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER - ONE OF TIME'S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE - A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged, and utterly original exploration of Asian American consciousness

"Brilliant . . . To read this book is to become more human."--Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen

In development as a television series starring and adapted by Greta Lee - One of Time's 10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year - Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, New Statesman, BuzzFeed, Esquire, The New York Public Library, and Book Riot

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.

Praise for Minor Feelings

"Hong begins her new book of essays with a bang. . . .The essays wander a variegated terrain of memoir, criticism and polemic, oscillating between smooth proclamations of certainty and twitches of self-doubt. . . . Minor Feelings is studded with moments of] candor and dark humor shot through with glittering self-awareness."--The New York Times

"Hong uses her own experiences as a jumping off point to examine race and emotion in the United States."--Newsweek

"Powerful . . . Hong] brings together memoiristic personal essay and reflection, historical accounts and modern reporting, and other works of art and writing, in order to amplify a multitude of voices and capture Asian America as a collection of contradictions. She does so with sharp wit and radical transparency."--Salon

About the Author

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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781984820389
ISBN-10: 1984820389
Publisher: One World
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2021
Pages: 224
Language: English