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New Work from RJFWA Winners Lan Samantha Chang (’98) & Solmaz Sharif (’14)


(l-r: Lan Samantha Chang (photo: Ife Oluwa Nihinlola) and Solmaz Sharif (photo: Emma Larson)


Lan Samantha Chang’s (’98) fourth novel The Family Chao was released earlier this month from W. W. Norton (Feb.1, 2022).

“The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, content to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. Before long, brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo is found dead—presumed murdered—and his sons find they’ve drawn the exacting gaze of the entire town. Brimming with heartbreak, comedy, and suspense, The Family Chao offers a kaleidoscopic, highly entertaining portrait of a Chinese American family grappling with the dark undercurrents of a seemingly pleasant small town.” Solmaz Sharif’s (’14) much anticipated second collection, Customs, will arrive from Graywolf Press on March 1, 2022.

"Sharif examines what it means to exist in the nowhere of the arrivals terminal, a continual series of checkpoints, officers, searches, and questionings that become a relentless experience of America. With resignation and austerity, these poems trace a pointed indoctrination to the customs of the nation-state and the English language, and the realities they impose upon the imagination, the paces they put us through. While Sharif critiques the culture of performed social skills and poetry itself—its foreclosures, affects, successes—she begins to write her way out to the other side of acceptability and toward freedom. Customs is a brilliant, excoriating new collection by a poet whose unfolding works are among the groundbreaking literature of our time.” Read Elisa Gonzalez's (’20) review in The New Yorker.


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