An immersive and electrifying story collection that explores self-construction, female resilience, and migrations both literal and transformative...Written during the turbulent years of the Trump administration and the first year of the pandemic, these ten thematically linked stories explore intimacy and isolation, coming-of-age and coming to terms with the repercussions of past mistakes, fraying relationships and surprising moments of connection...Moving between San Francisco and China, and from unsparing realism to genre-bending delight, Self-Portrait with Ghost considers what it means to live in an age of heightened self-consciousness, seemingly endless access to knowledge, and little actual power.
Following her extraordinary novel Little Gods (2020), Jin presents a fascinating 10-story collection...One-line drawings of profiles interrupt, switching directions as if cleverly reminding readers to shift perspectives...In 'Philip Is Dead,' the narrator insistently does not mourn a manipulative ex-lover...In 'Suffering,' a widow can’t trust her dead husband, her pretentious sister, or 'old and ugly' Mr. Fu, who wants to take care of her...In 'Self Portrait with Ghost,' a paternal aunt who was 'crazy' in life posthumously returns to talk books outside a library with her writer niece... Jin effortlessly navigates across generations, cultures, and borders to expose inequities, misunderstandings, and 'this America . . . in these "unprecedented times"'...The result proves deftly imaginative and brilliantly interrogative.
Jin returns with a provocative magical realist collection in which women fall in love, grieve, and figure out what to make of their lives amid constant changes...Many of these engrossing entries take inspiration from contemporary events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Trump presidency...Throughout, Jin toys with the concept of reality, which in the title story is malleable for its writer protagonist...There is beauty, wit, and pathos...This mystifying collection is a testament to Jin’s talent and versatility.