An Instant National Bestseller!
An Indie Next Pick!
A Locus award Finalist!
A Most Anticipated in 2021 Pick for Oprah Magazine | USA Today | Buzzfeed | Greatist | BookPage | PopSugar | Bustle | The Nerd Daily | Goodreads | Literary Hub | Ms. Magazine | Library Journal | Culturess | Book Riot | Parade Magazine | Kirkus | The Week | Book Bub | OverDrive | The Portalist | Publishers Weekly
A Best of Summer Pick for TIME Magazine | CNN | Book Riot | The Daily Beast | Lambda Literary | The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Goodreads | Bustle | Veranda Magazine | The Week | Bookish | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Den of Geek | LGBTQ Reads | Pittsburgh City Paper | Bookstr | Tatler HK
A Best Fantasy Novel from the Last 10 Years for Book Riot
A Best of 2021 Pick for NPR
“Deserves to be read alongside the book that inspired it. Vo’s prose is beautifully supple, and the novel shines when she reads “Gatsby” against the grain... A sumptuous, decadent read.”—The New York Times
"Nghi Vo is one of the most original writers we have today."—Taylor Jenkins Reid on Siren Queen
“A luminous shift in perspective for a classic, this retelling will never let you look at Gatsby the same way.”—TIME Magazine
“I love it with the passion of a thousand burning hearts... Vo’s audacious amendments shift the register of “The Great Gatsby,” creating a story that galvanizes Fitzgerald’s classic and leaves a new one vibrating alongside... from the old bones of an American classic, Vo has conjured up something magically alive.”—The Washington Post
“This is a wholly enthralling vision of the American Dream as observed and experienced by one suspended in a liminal place — accepted, but not really a part of the whole; apart, but not quite separate. Vo gives us a dreamy, sharply-drawn glamour; a vibrant, penetrating exploration of character. The Chosen and the Beautiful is exactly enough — but why not indulge with a reread?”—NPR
“Vo has crafted a retelling that, in many ways, surpasses the original, adding logic and depth to characters’ motivations while still—uncannily—unspooling the familiar story. Astonishingly crafted, with luscious prose and appeal for both fans of the original and those who always felt The Great Gatsby missed the mark.”—Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*
“Extraordinary. . . Vo’s immersive prose never ceases to captivate. The Gatsby-related details and hints of magic will keep readers spellbound from start to finish." —Publishers Weekly, *starred review*
"An utterly captivating series of speakeasies, back-seat trysts, parties both grand and intimate and romances both magical and mundane. . . . Vo is a remarkable writer whose talent for reviving Fitzgerald’s style of prose is reminiscent of Susanna Clarke channeling Jane Austen in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. But it is Vo’s additions to Gatsby’s original plot that truly shine. . . . [She] has transformed The Great Gatsby utterly." —BookPage, *starred review*
"The Chosen and the Beautiful finds Jordan fighting for her place in this Gatsby-adjacent world as an outsider, a plight that Vo illuminates in heartbreaking specificity."—TIME Magazine
"What if The Great Gatsby except sexy star golfer Jordan Baker is a queer Vietnamese adoptee? And there's magic? You have our attention."—USA Today
“Enter Nghi Vo's lyrical, fever-dream spin, in which golf-playing heartbreaker Jordan Baker is a queer Vietnamese adoptee with a penchant for magic." —Oprah Daily
“The story has Gatsby's kaleidoscopic extravagance, with Jordan playing the lead role. Beautifully written and magical, The Chosen and the Beautiful is destined to become a classic.”—Ms. Magazine
"Soaked in gin and dark magic, The Chosen and the Beautiful is one of 2021’s must-read novels."—Bustle
“Vo's resuscitation of Gatsby suggests comparisons with Jean Rhys's celebrated Wide Sargasso Sea. . . [both] brilliantly elevate less-central characters, adding depth and gravitas to women underdeveloped, overlooked. . . . Vo creates an extraordinary multi-layered literary experience that both enriches and eclipses the overexposed original." —Shelf Awareness
"Nghi Vo has written us the adaptation of The Great Gatsby that we deserve: a sparkling novel of excess and over-indulgence told from Jordan Baker’s point of view."—Book Riot
"Turns Fitzgerald’s American classic on its head to present a world recognizable in outline, but brought to new life in imaginative detail. The Chosen and the Beautiful is magical, quite literally. In this Jazz Age New York, ghosts haunt mansion corridors, flappers drink special elixirs that make them float, and members of the elite have obtained their fame and fortune by selling their souls to demons."—The Daily Beast
"One of the buzziest fantasy releases of the month is an alternate universe adaptation of The Great Gatsby, keeping the dazzle of the 1920s while adding the challenges of being a queer Vietnamese adoptee. Plus, ghosts both metaphorical and perhaps literal."—Den of Geek
“Beloved for her “Singing Hills Cycle” novellas, Vo goes ambitiously full-length with her tale of queer Vietnamese adoptee Jordan Baker, who uses magic to get what she wants in a 1920s Gatsby-like framework." —Library Journal
“Vo remains an excellent stylist. . . Recommended for readers of Vo's previous shorter work or readers of historical fantasy in general." —Booklist
"A dazzling reckoning with the fragile and beguiling fantasies we conjure to make sense of the past. It is also a (re)vision of The Great Gatsby, a mesmerizing, fearless unravelling of a text at the heart of the American literary canon."—Ancillary Review of Books
“The Chosen and the Beautiful is the perfect reinvention of the classic summer reading list standby.”—The Week
“Vo’s prose is lush and extraordinarily detailed, and so reminiscent of Fitzgerald’s writing but somehow even more atmospheric and lyrical." —The Nerd Daily
“Nghi Vo's stellar transformation of The Great Gatsby recasts the 'careless' Jordan Baker as a woman of depth and sharpness, a socialite forced to live in the margins of others’ lives. In Vo’s telling, the glitter of Gatsby’s parties conceals a sinister struggle—one where the players must survive on charms both literal and figurative, and the line between the invented and the real is endlessly blurred. Like Jordan’s own paper creations, The Chosen and the Beautiful captivates with its artistry and its power.” —Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni
“The Chosen and the Beautiful is gorgeous and gripping, shining with language that shows us all the facets and dangers of yearning. Nghi Vo subverts and expands the possibilities of an American story, and magic is in the marrow of every sentence. I'm in awe of this book's expansive imagination and its exploration of what it means to discover desire, make your own myths, and define your belonging." —K-Ming Chang, author of Bestiary and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree
“Luxurious, thrilling, and sexy, Nghi Vo's debut novel dives into the world of The Great Gatsby and wears it like a second skin. A shapeshifter of a book that had me hypnotized from the first pages, The Chosen and the Beautiful brings new intensity to a story you thought you knew.” —Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire
"Exquisite, incandescent, and queer AF! The Great Gatsby is great precisely because of the stories it's not telling. . . . Now, Nghi Vo has brought the subtext to the surface, and given us the Gatsby we deserve and the Jordan we need as we enter a new era of horrific inequality and impending cataclysm."—Sam J. Miller, author of Blackfish City
“Decadent. Visual. Imaginative. Genius. Not enough words to praise this page-turning novel of sorcery, infernal compacts, and enchanted elixirs, in an altogether different 1920s New York. Nghi Vo snips apart, then magically weaves together a familiar story in a wholly original and decidedly unfamiliar way. Redo all the classics. And do them like this!” —P. Djèlí Clark, winner of the Alex, Locus, and Nebula Awards and author of Ring Shout
“A sumptuous novel that tangles with race, magic, sexuality, and class. Nghi Vo creates a world that drips with champagne and magic, where outsider’s views are the only ones that matter, and it's impossible to be sure who is or is not other. It’s bold to play in the realm of The Great Gatsby and Vo’s acerbic Jordan Baker is the perfect woman to do it.” —Erika Swyler, author of The Book of Speculation
“This book is Gatsby the way it should have been written–dark, dazzling, and fantastical. Of course Jordan Baker should have been the main character. Of course everyone should have been messing with magic. Vo has created a perfect response to Fitzgerald in tone, voice, and theme.” —R. F. Kuang, winner of the Astounding Award and author of The Poppy War
“The Chosen and the Beautiful is a subversive, sexy, atmospheric, sweltering, gin-soaked, Hell-haunted vision of Gatsby's New York, with prose that will pull you under. I loved it.” —Alix E. Harrow, winner of the Hugo Award and author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January
“Crisp as paper and delirious as a fever dream, this is a redrawn Gatsby daubed in gold leaf and lip rouge and blood. Nghi Vo gives a freshly imagined Jordan Baker her due, while infusing her glittering New York with a bottomless magical menace that feels both excitingly new and cosmically true to Fitzgerald’s original.” —Melissa Albert, New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
“Nghi Vo’s perfectly honed prose embodies the intoxicating, knife-sharp dazzle of cruel wealth and hollow people. This book is as sharp and strange as the taste of a licked silver spoon—it’s breathtaking.”—Shelley Parker-Chan, author of She Who Became the Sun
“I adore this Jordan and her shimmering rage, the way it laces all her party glamour. It adds a queer vitality to this story that really resonates with me, her flamboyance being so rageful. The prose is like a bite of caramel that rips out your teeth. It's seething, creamy. It has a bloody taste.” —Hannah Abigail Clarke, bestselling author of The Scapegracers
“Vo’s writing is flawless and a type all its own. The writing itself made The Chosen and the Beautiful untypical of fae stories; even though there are commonalities and genre conventions present in the novel, Vo blends them with the world, history, and characters in a way that just feels natural.”—Lightspeed
“Sensual, evocative, decadent language intensifies the glamour and ruin of the twenties, the poetic prose testifying to Vo’s masterful command of language.”—Strange Horizons
Vo’s extraordinary full-length debut (after the novella When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain) draws readers into a fantastical reimagining of the world of The Great Gatsby. In Vo’s version, magic is as regular as Jay Gatsby’s soirees, prohibition bans covered demon blood as well as alcohol, and star golfer Jordan Baker can turn cut paper into enchantments. Jorden and Daisy Fay became friends when they were children. Now, Daisy is settled with Tom Buchanan while Jordan navigates New York City’s social scene as an accepted outsider, kept at arm’s length for her Vietnamese heritage. When Daisy sets Jordan up with her cousin, Nick Carraway, Jordan takes little notice of him until Jay Gatsby sets his eyes on Nick as well. The unnerving Gatsby asks Jordan to put in a good word for him with Nick, Daisy’s reeling from Gatsby’s reemergence in her life, and Jordan is developing unwelcome romantic affections of her own. Vo balances the increasingly entangled lives of Jordan and her friends with flashbacks to Jordan and Daisy’s childhood and teen years. The plot unravels tantalizingly slowly, and Vo’s immersive prose never ceases to captivate. The Gatsby-related details and hints of magic will keep readers spellbound from start to finish. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (June)
DEBUT Jordan Baker is an example of 1920s privilege: she has money, an education, a talent for golf, and easy entry into the most glamorous parties of the decade. Yet in a world that prizes everything Jordan has, she's also scrutinized, for being a queer Vietnamese immigrant adopted as a child. The glittering world that Jordan inhabits is full of magical undertones: drinking demon's blood; infernal deals; secret desires. Jordan is drawn into relationships with Nick Carraway and Daisy Buchanan, who have ties to the mysterious, extravagant Jay Gatsby. Meanwhile, Jordan's own magic—bringing paper to life; seeing ghosts—will lead her on a journey of revelation and realization. The characters' emotional arcs are profound, the settings lavish and styled; Vo's prose not only conveys the excess but strips it away throughout the story. VERDICT Vo's first full-length novel weaves the plot of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby into a vivid tapestry of layered commentary on gender, race, and sexuality, set in a magical Jazz Age New York.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton
Jordan Baker recounts the story of Daisy Buchanan and her ill-fated relationship with Jay Gatsby.
Jordan, born in Vietnam, was adopted by the Bakers as a child, launching her into a world of old money and magic different from her own. Generally regarded as a curiosity, Jordan has made the best of her situation, kissing boys and girls and overindulging on imported bottles of demoniac, taking care not to dwell for too long on the things that make her different. After the deaths of her guardians, Jordan moves to New York City, where she reunites with her friend Daisy; meets Daisy’s cousin Nick Carraway, newly returned from the war; and learns that Jay Gatsby, whom she and Daisy knew in Louisville, is Nick’s neighbor. But Gatsby is different: lacking in something and single-mindedly focused on winning Daisy back. Between magic-filled parties at Gatsby’s house and whispers of dark bargains, Jordan watches the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby unravel over the course of the summer, at the same time struggling with her own relationship to Daisy and eventually coming to question her place in their society. Vo has crafted a retelling that, in many ways, surpasses the original, adding logic and depth to characters’ motivations while still—uncannily—unspooling the familiar story. Astonishingly crafted, with luscious prose and appeal for both fans of the original and those who always felt The Great Gatsby missed the mark.
With magic creeping in around the edges, this is a unique, well-developed, and haunting Gatsby retelling.