The Fetishist

Putnam. Jan. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780593713655. $28. F
This posthumous work from Min (Secondhand World), who passed away in 2019, was completed with collaborative editing efforts from her daughter. Here Min explores the stereotypes of attraction between white men and Asian women. Readers meet three musicians: Daniel Karomody, his fiancée Alma Soon Ja Lee, and Emi, the woman who came between them. As the story unfolds, Daniel is identified as a fetishist of Asian women. The players in this story all comment on their relationships with one another as well as between races and genders. However, the novel is about more than just these relationships; it also contains unanticipated twists, including a kidnapping and murder plot against Daniel initiated by Emi’s daughter Kyoko, with assistance from her boyfriend. The short chapters enable readers to easily follow the rapid shifts of perspective and the storylines that jump between the past and the present.
VERDICT Filled with grim humor, Min’s novel is an engaging and thoughtful read. Those who enjoyed Charmaine Craig’s My Nemesis and Elaine Hsieh Chou’s Disorientation are likely to appreciate this final work from Min, which fully reflects her talents as a writer.
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