The Fetishist

Books on Tape. Jan. 2024. 8:47 hrs. ISBN 9780593787458. $76. F
Lovers of classical music seeking sharp commentary on race and desire, combined with elements of crime fiction, will quickly be enmeshed in Min’s (Secondhand World) twisting posthumous novel. Narrator Eunice Wong incisively communicates Min’s provocative story, alternating perspectives between violinist Daniel, a white serial philanderer whose eyes fall only on Asian women, the women Daniel fetishizes (cellist Alma, punk rocker Kyoko, and Kyoko’s mother Emi, who died by suicide), and loved ones caught in webs of insecurity, longing, and objectification. Protagonist Alma was once engaged to Daniel but was boxed in by his never-ending desire for self-gratification at her expense. Meanwhile, Kyoko seeks revenge for her mother’s death, which she blames entirely on Daniel. Individual storylines blend smoothly through Wong’s narration, which expertly depicts characters as they travel through new phases of life and collide with each other like bursts of stars. With a surprising conclusion and an emotional afterword narrated by the author’s daughter, Kayla Min Andrews, Min’s final novel suggests that forgiveness and new beginnings are possible, but only with accountability.
VERDICT Min’s sharp, poignant story and her characters refuse apology and demand recognition as they are. Compelling storytelling and narration make this an unforgettable listen.
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