“Christina Chiu’s Beauty is beautiful in the way of a scalpel blade. It’s that sharp and precise, that lacerating, that true.”
– Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Hours
"In unflinching and emotionally charged prose, Chiu explores the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality, exploring the ways in which identity both informs and hinders one’s ability to make meaningful change and decisions."
—The Literary Review
The fashion world is depicted with luminous specificity—and, as a metaphorical field, it is perfectly selected—but Amy’s story will resonate for those operating in any industry in which the complex layers of race, gender, access, and propriety can complicate a woman’s every action.
- Kirkus Reviews
"I can’t think of novel more unflinching in its portrayal of lust, love, and parenthood. Christina Chiu has a unique gift as a storyteller for unflinching honesty, and the ability to see the transcendent in the details. Beauty is a novel of one woman’s life, epic in emotional proportion. I was captured by Beauty and gleefully held there through to the last page." – Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day and Pym
“Beauty immediately caught me with its propulsive force and kept me mesmerized with its lyrical writing, insight and humor as we watch the sweep of a woman's life, from young to old, through loves, lies, children, marriages, artistic promise and failure, and the changing meaning of 'beauty'. I couldn't put this book down, and I was so sad when such a richly described world came to an end.
–Marie Myung-Ok Lee, author of The Evening Hero
I work my way through Ma’s walk in closet. Each dress is in its own plastic sleeve. Psychedelic Pucci prints—a pinkish brown shift dress, matching bluish top and bell bottom pants. There’s a red bohemian gown. The upper body’s
a simple bikini-strapped tank with a flowerlike motif and organza appliques, the lower is a mix-and-match assortment of transparent devorees layered softly like waves.
I lay the dress on Ma’s bed and continue looking. Yves Saint Laurent shifts, Pierre Cardin dresses, one of which is a cream-colored car wash mini worth god knows how much. And oh—the Givenchy. It’s Ma’s go-to little black dress, one she’s had forever. It’s hard to believe it’s not traveling with her to the Caribbean. The first time Dad left, I was 16 and in high school. Ma packed a suitcase with only 3 dresses, and this was one of them. I set it carefully beside the red Pucci and go back for more.
Herve Leger. Dior. Chanel.
Oh my god. Another Givenchy. This one a gown. Ma’s last boyfriend must have invited her to a black tie ball. Deep V neck. Sleeveless. Halter-like and with a fitted waist. Silk sheer-paneled netting, a floral macrame design elegantly hiding the breasts, and yet drawing the eye straight to it. There’s a rear central vent, cut from the same sheer panel netting as the front, embroidered with dots like a bride’s veil.
"In sharp, witty, heartbreaking prose, Chiu communicates the Asian-American experience as adeptly and freshly as Sherman Alexie describes the Native American experience, or Junot Díaz defines Latino life in the U.S."
– Publishers Weekly
"Meet the Wongs, Shengs and Tsuis. Each of these families has its own troubles and secrets—and something the other two want. But the three clans—whose members include a matriarch who talks to dead relatives; her nymphomaniac granddaughter; an old man who reads only decades-old newspapers; and a street punk—share a past and face a common future. Told in a sequence of interwoven stories, Troublemaker 'refracts classic old-vs.-new-world tensions through the prism of second-generation Chinese-American Gen-Xers'."
– TIME Magazine
"A truly auspicious fiction debut."
– Vanity Fair
"Literary debuts don't come much nervier. [It] explores the generational, cultural and sexual divides with humor and compassion."
—The Washington Post Book World