Her fiction favors the quotidian over the spectacular, the small moments of violence or disappointment common to all ... The book is slender, containing only eight stories, but it might also be considered capacious, hard to reduce to a single theme or preoccupation. Chai’s style, the sole element that holds these distinct works together, is unaffected. It’s as if the author is getting out of her own way, giving herself space to focus on the mechanics of one individual narrative at a time. Yet in each there’s a sense of many other narratives just off the page, the lives and back stories we aren’t seeing. Short stories are by definition brief, but they needn’t be small ... Chai’s skill gleams ... You may call it conventional, even, with its attention to plot and character, but Chai’s adherence to those conventions just underscores how perfect a literary form the short story can be.
The eight stories in this collection feature varied characters in different states of diaspora each with their own powerful voice ... With a vision that is both sharp and compassionate, Chai allows us to see just what it is to be 'different' in a world that embraces conformity ... Chai is masterful here at interweaving American suburban life and Chinese-American specificities ... a significant piece of art reminiscent of Madison Smartt Bell's brilliant novella The Year of Silence ... Chai is a masterful writer and this collection presents a deeply moving portrait of the varieties of Chinese diasporic experience.