Synopses & Reviews
"Startlingly original and deeply moving.... Chang here establishes herself as one of the most important of the new generation of American writers." George Saunders
A Recommended Book From
Buzzfeed * USA Today * New York Magazine * O, the Oprah Magazine * Parade * Wired * Electric Literature * The Millions * San Antonio Express-News * Domino
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 voice
The 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.
"A strikingly quiet, tender book that simultaneously traces the many big questions — in Chang's words, the 'precarity of young adulthood, dynamics of being in an interracial relationship, ' the insidious forces of capitalism, racism and sexism &mdahs; shadowing the protagonist's struggle to find her place in the world.... Remarkable." San Francisco Chronicle
"Days of Distraction masterfully complicates the many harmful ways in which societal rage is placated daily.... It's no easy feat to present these issues using bountiful evidence within an expansive work of fiction. Chang does this expertly. Her debut is a reminder that the novel can show and tell, convey story and social message, and dare the reader to participate in their own upheaval." Chicago Review of Books
"A wholly engaging joy to read. Chang writes with wit and sharpness as she curates moments, observations and histories that together make something of beautiful depth and significance. It takes great bravery to make art of so many of those things we fear and love. An important, gratifying read." Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black
About the Author
Alexandra Chang is from Northern California. She currently lives in Ithaca, NY with her husband and their dog and cat.