A book that experiments with form by an Asian Canadian author
One of the exciting things about Canadian literary culture over the last few years has been seeing how experiments in form and storytelling have really expanded and blossomed throughout so many of the stories that we read, love, and share. Part of our mission at the FOLD is showing how many different ways there are to enjoy stories. From graphic novels through to lyric essays, from spoken word through to comics–there are stories out there for everyone, in a million different forms.
For our April challenge, we are looking at books that experiment with form by Asian Canadian authors. Now more than ever it’s important for us to understand that the world can be viewed in an untold number of ways–that it’s these very differences in form and storytelling and style that make our world the beautiful thing that it is.
This April, in light of the recent and ongoing violence against the Asian Canadian community and Asian Americans, please consider making a donation to the Asian Solidarity Fund on Canada Helps.
Kimiko Does Cancer, by Kimiko Tobimatsu
At the age of twenty-five, Kimiko Tobimatsu was a young, queer, mixed-race woman with no history of health problems whose world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In an instant, she became immersed in a new and complicated life of endless appointments, evaluations, and treatments, and difficult conversations with her partner and parents. Kimiko knew that this wasn’t what being twenty-five was supposed to be like . .. but then, she didn’t have a choice.
With tender illustrations by Keet Geniza, Kimiko Does Cancer is a graphic memoir that upends the traditional cancer narrative from a young woman’s perspective, confronting issues such as dating while in menopause, navigating work and treatment, and talking to well-meaning friends, health care professionals, and other cancer survivors with viewpoints different from her own. Not one for pink ribbons or runs for the cure, Kimiko seeks connection within the cancer community while also critiquing the mainstream cancer experience.
Honest and poignant, Kimiko Does Cancer is about finding one’s own way out of a health crisis.
You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked, by Sheung-King
A young translator living in Toronto frequently travels abroad—to Hong Kong, Macau, Prague, Tokyo—often with his unnamed lover. In restaurants and hotel rooms, the couple begin telling folk tales to each other, perhaps as a way to fill the undefined space between them. Theirs is a comic and enigmatic relationship in which emotions are often muted and sometimes masked by verbal play and philosophical questions, and further complicated by the woman’s frequent unexplained disappearances.
You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked. is an intimate novel of memory and longing that challenges Western tropes and Orientalism. Embracing the playful surrealism of Haruki Murakami and the atmospheric narratives of filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, Sheung-King’s debut is at once lyrical and punctuated, and wholly unique, and marks the arrival of a bold new voice in Canadian literature.
Barely Functional Adult, by Meichi Ng
Wielding her trademark balance of artful humour, levity, and heartbreaking introspection, Meichi Ng’s indisputably relatable collection of short stories holds a mirror to our past, present, and future selves. Featuring a swaddled Barely Functional Adult as its protagonist who says all the things we think but dare not say, this book is equal parts humorous and heartbreaking as it spans a spectrum of topics from imposter syndrome, therapy, friendships, first loves, letting go of exes, to just trying to find your purpose in the world. Prepare to excitedly shove this book in your friend’s face with little decorum as you shout, “THIS IS SO US!”
In this beautiful, four-color collection compiled completely of never-before-seen content, Meichi perfectly captures the best and worst of us in every short story, allowing us to weep with pleasure at our own fallibility. Hilarious, relatable, and heart-wrenchingly honest, Barely Functional Adult will have you laughing and crying in the same breath, while taking solace in the fact that we’re anything but alone in this world.
Goodbye, Again, by Jonny Sun (Available on Audible Canada)
The wonderfully original author of Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too gives us a collection of touching and hilarious personal essays, stories, poems—accompanied by his trademark illustrations—covering topics such as mental health, happiness, and what it means to belong.
Jonny Sun is back with a collection of essays and other writings in his unique, funny, and heartfelt style. The pieces range from long meditations on topics like loneliness and being an outsider, to short humor pieces, conversations, and memorable one-liners.
Jonny’s honest writings about his struggles with feeling productive, as well as his difficulties with anxiety and depression will connect deeply with his fans as well as anyone attempting to create in our chaotic world.
It also features a recipe for scrambled eggs that might make you cry.