"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Review and quotes: YELLOWFACE

Title: Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

Beginning quote: 
The night I watch Athena Liu die, we are celebrating her TV deal with Netflix.
Friday56 quote:
Writing is the closest thing we have to real magic. Writing is creating something out of nothing, is opening doors to other lands. Writing gives you power to shape your own world when the real one hurts too much.
Summary: Athena Liu and June Hayward are both writers. They've known each other since college. They still get together occasionally, mostly to celebrate Athena's accomplishments since she is a successful author and June is not. On the night when Athena dies they are celebrating yet another accomplishment. Not only is Netflix knocking but Athena has just finished the first draft of another novel which June finds herself rewriting and publishing after her friends death. And then finds herself running from Athena's ghost because she thinks she deserves the fame she has received. "Yellowface grapples with questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation, as well as the terrifying alienation of social media."

Review: As I looked over the reviews on Goodreads-- which is funny since that is what June Hayward does too, to her detriment -- I think I may have goofed up reading Yellowface before R.F.Kuang's novel Babel, which I am reading right now. They both deal, to some degree with cultural appropriation, though Yellowface is a modern story with a much more light-handed touch, so it is hard to go back to much harder, serious story.

I ultimately gave Yellowface a rating of 4 stars. At first I wanted to give the book the heave-ho because it felt like I'd just read this story, minus the cultural appropriation and racist angles, with The Plot by Jean Haniff Korelitz two years ago. I also decidedly didn't like June Hayward, or any of the other characters for that matter, and I always have trouble wanting to continue reading books when I don't like the characters. But I persisted and decided that the book was pretty entertaining. Its truth about social media and the publishing industry made it feel like it was worth my time. Who knows we may even select it for book club, giving me one more chance to put my thoughts together on this book.

Have you read Yellowface? What did you think of it?

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