“A startlingly original and deeply moving debut—kaleidoscopic, funny, heart-rending, beautifully observed, and formally daring.... Chang here establishes herself as one of the most important of the new generation of American writers.” — George Saunders
“A wholly engaging joy to read. Chang writes with wit and sharpness.” — Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black
A wry, tender portrait of a young woman—finally free to decide her own path, but unsure if she knows herself well enough to choose wisely—from a captivating new literary voiceThe plan is to leave. As for how, when, to where, and even why—she doesn’t know yet. So begins a journey for the twenty-four-year-old narrator of Days of Distraction. As a staff writer at a prestigious tech publication, she reports on the achievements of smug Silicon Valley billionaires and start-up bros while her own request for a raise gets bumped from manager to manager. And when her longtime boyfriend, J, decides to move to a quiet upstate New York town for grad school, she sees an excuse to cut and run.
Moving is supposed to be a grand gesture of her commitment to J and a way to reshape her sense of self. But in the process, she finds herself facing misgivings about her role in an interracial relationship. Captivated by the stories of her ancestors and other Asian Americans in history, she must confront a question at the core of her identity: What does it mean to exist in a society that does not notice or understand you?
Equal parts tender and humorous, and told in spare but powerful prose, Days of Distraction is an offbeat coming-of-adulthood tale, a touching family story, and a razor-sharp appraisal of our times.
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About the Author
Alexandra Chang is from Northern California. She graduated from UC Berkeley and received her MFA from Syracuse University. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Glimmer Train, LARB Quarterly Journal, Catapult, and elsewhere. She has previously worked as a technology reporter for WIRED and Macworld, and now lives in upstate New York.