The Partitio is an updated exploration of Asian American identity, this time with characters who are presumptive model minorities in the arts, academia, and media. Spanning decades, these nine novelistic stories traverse an array of cities, from Tokyo to Boston, Honolulu to El Paso, touching upon transient encounters in local bars, restaurants, and hotels. Culminating in a three-story cycle about a Hollywood actor, The Partition incisively examines heartbreak, identity, family, and relationships.
Here we meet the same figures and tropes from Yellow: striving artists who sell out; slackers; lovers with internalized self-hatred that turns them violently bitter and paranoid ... Sentences...intended to move the reader, often tip into overwritten melodrama. Lee’s stories are often about disappointment, but his prose, too, can disappoint in deflating moments such as these.
Familiar joy is immediate as one reenters Lee’s signature worlds of brilliant resonance and quiet depth ... Lee further showcases his ingenious narrative acrobatics ... While Lee’ s devotees will joyfully relish casually dropped references to previous titles, new readers should savor plenty of first-time delight.
A stylish set of erotic stories ... Lee has a habit of overdoing the details, such as a superfluous explanation of the Mission District’s gentrification, but when he allows his stories to run, they offer gorgeous, psychological portraits of men and women caught in the throes of middle age. This smart collection about love and belonging will leave readers wanting more.