I began this blog in 2007, as an attempt to sketch out in a loose form some thoughts for a nonfiction book, part autobiography and part memoir. The name came from conversations with a friend at the time who’d say “Is this Korean?” And I’d say “ish”.
A few years ago a writer found my blog and taking me at my word, read my blog as a book, and wrote about it. When I read it that way, I saw that my life as described in the blog and the aims I had for the book were at interesting angles. The book means to be about my Korean and American families. The blog had become a Dystopian nonfiction novel about a writer trying to survive in a country that had gone insane.
The blog may still be about that.
I’m Alexander Chee. I’m a writer and a professor of writing fiction and nonfiction.
My new novel, The Queen of the Night, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
If you like this blog, some other things around the web that I’ve written may strike your fancy: Me on James Salter at The Paris Review Daily. Me on studying with Annie Dillard, learning to use an e-reader, and the racial unconscious of the United States as seen in our superhero comics.
I also recommend a copy of my first novel at your favorite retailer of choice.
Edinburgh is in print from the good people at Picador. Here are some reactions to it:
…Alexander Chee’s Edinburgh, fucking incredible son of a bitch…
— Junot Diaz, over at Austinist
Alexander Chee is the best new novelist I’ve seen in some time. Edinburgh is moody, dramatic—and pure.
— Edmund White
Edinburgh has the force of a dream and the heft of a life. And Alexander Chee is a brilliant new writer.
— Annie Dillard
Haunting… complex… sophisticated. [Chee] says volumes with just a few incendiary words.
— The New York Times Book Review
A coming-of-age novel in the grand Romantic tradition, where passions run high, Cupid stalks Psyche, and love shares the dance floor with death . . . A lovely, nuanced, never predictable portrait of a creative soul in the throes of becoming.
— The Washington Post Book World
Chee is a gifted, poetic writer who takes big risks…This novel marks the debut of a major talent whose career will bear watching.
— Publishers Weekly
A striking debut…A complex story told with skill and intensity, but also filled with moments when agony and extraordinary beauty somehow coexist.
— Kirkus Reviews
A complex, sophisticated, elegant investigation of trauma and desire – like a white hot flame.
— Joyce Hackett, in the Guardian UK