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{ "item_title" : "The Chosen and the Beautiful", "item_author" : [" Nghi Vo "], "item_description" : "An Instant National BestsellerAn Indie Next PickA Most Anticipated in 2021 Pick for Oprah Magazine USA Today Buzzfeed Greatist BookPage PopSugar Bustle The Nerd Daily Goodreads Literary Hub Ms. Magazine Library Journal Culturess Book Riot Parade Magazine Kirkus The Week Book Bub OverDrive The Portalist Publishers WeeklyA Best of Summer Pick for TIME Magazine CNN NBC News CBS News Book Riot The Daily Beast Lambda Literary The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Goodreads Bustle Veranda Magazine The Week Bookish St. Louis Post-Dispatch Den of Geek LGBTQ Reads Pittsburgh City Paper Bookstr Tatler HK A Best Fantasy Novel from the Last 10 Years for Book Riot A Best of 2021 Pick for NPRA vibrant and queer reinvention of F. Scott Fitzgerald's jazz age classic. . . . I was captivated from the first sentence.--NPR Nghi Vo is one of the most original writers we have today.--Taylor Jenkins Reid on Siren QueenA sumptuous, decadent read.--The New York Times Vo has crafted a retelling that, in many ways, surpasses the original.--Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewImmigrant. Socialite. Magician.Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society--she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She's also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how. Nghi Vo's debut novel, The Chosen and the Beautiful, reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.", "item_img_path" : "https://covers1.booksamillion.com/covers/bam/1/25/078/478/1250784786_b.jpg", "price_data" : { "retail_price" : "27.99", "online_price" : "27.99", "our_price" : "27.99", "club_price" : "27.99", "savings_pct" : "0", "savings_amt" : "0.00", "club_savings_pct" : "0", "club_savings_amt" : "0.00", "discount_pct" : "10", "store_price" : "" } }
The Chosen and the Beautiful|Nghi Vo
The Chosen and the Beautiful
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Overview

An Instant National Bestseller
An Indie Next Pick


A Most Anticipated in 2021 Pick for Oprah Magazine USA Today Buzzfeed Greatist BookPage PopSugar Bustle The Nerd Daily Goodreads Literary Hub Ms. Magazine Library Journal Culturess Book Riot Parade Magazine Kirkus The Week Book Bub OverDrive The Portalist Publishers Weekly

A Best of Summer Pick for TIME Magazine CNN NBC News CBS News Book Riot The Daily Beast Lambda Literary The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Goodreads Bustle Veranda Magazine The Week Bookish St. Louis Post-Dispatch Den of Geek LGBTQ Reads Pittsburgh City Paper Bookstr Tatler HK A Best Fantasy Novel from the Last 10 Years for Book Riot A Best of 2021 Pick for NPR

"A vibrant and queer reinvention of F. Scott Fitzgerald's jazz age classic. . . . I was captivated from the first sentence."--NPR "Nghi Vo is one of the most original writers we have today."--Taylor Jenkins Reid on Siren Queen

"A sumptuous, decadent read."--The New York Times "Vo has crafted a retelling that, in many ways, surpasses the original."--Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewImmigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society--she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She's also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how. Nghi Vo's debut novel, The Chosen and the Beautiful, reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250784780
  • ISBN-10: 1250784786
  • Publisher: Tordotcom
  • Publish Date: June 2021
  • Dimensions: 8.55 x 5.74 x 0.94 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.77 pounds
  • Page Count: 272

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The Chosen and the Beautiful

Adapting classic works of literature is always challenging, not least because the adapting author must decide how much novelty is appropriate. Too much and fans will shun it out of pique; too little and they’ll shun it out of disinterest. This dilemma is only heightened when the book in question is as widely read as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. And yet, in The Chosen and the Beautiful, Nghi Vo perfectly strikes that balance of the new and the familiar.

Retold from the perspective of Daisy Buchanan’s best friend, amateur golfer Jordan Baker—here recharacterized as a wealthy Louisville missionary family’s adopted Vietnamese daughter—the familiar contours of Fitzgerald’s tragedy are warped with a hazy dash of demonic and earthly magic. The result is an utterly captivating series of speakeasies, back-seat trysts, parties both grand and intimate and romances both magical and mundane, all spiraling through a miasma of Prohibition-era jingoism and entitlement toward its inevitably tragic conclusion.


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Vo is a remarkable writer whose talent for reviving Fitzgerald’s style of prose is reminiscent of Susanna Clarke channeling Jane Austen in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. But it is Vo’s additions to Gatsby’s original plot that truly shine. By foregrounding Jordan’s and Daisy’s perspectives rather than Nick’s, she recasts a story about the consequences of male overreach as one about the limitations of female and non-white agency. This is further complicated by Jordan’s inability to remember anything of her childhood in Vietnam before she was brought to Kentucky. She sees herself as American, the daughter of the Louisville Bakers, but neither her white peers nor the Vietnamese immigrants she meets agree with her. 

For both Jordan and Daisy, magic can offer some surcease, but only to a point. In the first scene of the book, for instance, when the two women go flying through Daisy’s house with a magic charm, they must return demurely to the couch when Daisy’s husband comes home. Throughout the book, the women’s choices are constrained by those of the men surrounding them. Even magic, whether a charm, an enchantment or a potion (which are always consumed as cocktails), can only win them a brief reprieve from the decisions others make for and about them.

In this alternate America, the fear of demons is consistently paralleled with the fear of immigrants. Magic is unavoidable in Vo’s West and East Egg, but although it may be consumed by those at the center of American society, it emanates from those at its periphery. To its consumers and connoisseurs, it is valuable precisely because it is foreign, while those who create and practice it are ostracized and hated for precisely the same reason. The fetishization of earthbound magics is reminiscent of the real-world fascination with traditions like folk medicine, and even demoniac, the psychotropic beverage derived from demon’s blood that several characters drink, could represent any number of exoticized vices prized by the American wealthy. There are lessons here for those of us living in the mundane reality of the 21st century, just as there are in Jordan’s commentary on the ways her agency is constrained as a Vietnamese American woman.

The Chosen and the Beautiful, like the novel it retells, is as much a tragedy as it is a social commentary. The reader will likely know how Daisy’s story ends, but Jordan is in the spotlight here, and her story is just as captivating, if not more so. By putting her in the foreground, and highlighting the voice among Fitzgerald’s core characters that was the least heard, Vo has transformed The Great Gatsby utterly.

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