This debut collection explores the interconnected lives of diasporic women and the histories they are born into. Set in a wide range of time periods and locales—including '80s UK suburbia, WWII Hong Kong, and contemporary urban California—the stories feature an eclectic cast of outsiders: among them, an elderly housebreaker, wounded lovers and kung-fu fighting teenage girls.
... a beautiful and perceptive look at the connections we make — and fail to make — with family, friends and strangers. Lok's literary debut is among the strongest of the year, thanks to her excellent writing and uncanny ability to create complex characters with the same stubborn flaws as real people ... doesn't feel at all like a debut book; Lok writes with the self-assuredness of a literary veteran and the insight of someone who's spent a lifetime studying how humans interact. It's a gorgeous collection that urges us to do our best to connect with one another — the alternative, as some of Lok's more unfortunate characters demonstrate, is oblivion.
Mimi Lok’s Last of Her Name is a smorgasbord of powerful writing and angsty emotion wrapped into eight meditations on what it means to feel slightly out of place, either in your head or in your physical surroundings ... While not all the stories are equally successful...it’s quite clear Lok is on to something about the human condition ... her empathy for her characters—and discerning grasp of their strained or isolated circumstances—comes through on every page. Her stories are insightful, painfully honest and deeply unsettling—a dynamite combination in a new writer on the scene.
Stories of unintended consequences, people behaving badly, some with cruelty and hatred, others with tough love or curious ways to test the bonds that bind us, come together in a gripping new collection, Last of Her Name. ... The book reflects the work of a young writer with the artistry and training to write beautifully. Lok also seems to have the worldly knowledge and heart to write about people (on a variety of margins), and she makes subtle but surprising arguments about why their stories matter ... These sophisticated and worldly stories are about how close you can come to not wanting to be married...Or how close you can come to not wanting to be yourself and not knowing of a better alternative ... But above all, nearly every piece seems to grapple convincingly with the matter of how we live and why and how easily it could (and maybe should) be different ... These stories are tough, gorgeous and humane. They feel universal and also deeply specific. I loved the brash intelligence, the way this debut collection can be fun, funny and incredibly serious. How many versions of each one of us are there? One hopes Lok will have time to find more.