"Yellowface by R.F. Kuang is a whirlwind. I sat down to read it when I was sick at home, and proceeded to read it all day long. Kuang shows a mastery of language, with some of the wittiest writing I’ve ever read, in addition to an unpredictable weaving of plot that led up to an ending that both shocked and delighted me. Yellowface tells the story of one white woman, June, who justifies her theft of a deceased asian author’s work. She soon finds major interest in success-hungry publishers, as well as major pushback from readers feeling scammed into assuming a wildly incorrect identity for June based on her stolen work. Full of dark humour and twisted relations, the unhinged story of Yellowface is a killer step into literary fiction by R.F. Kuang."
What’s the harm in a pseudonym? Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American—in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author R. F. Kuang.
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? 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 grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation in the publishing industry, as well as the terrifying alienation of social media. R.F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.