Wondrous and strange ... What we learn about this unnamed narrator... is delightful in its specificity ... The main pleasure of Y/N is not so much its somewhat skeletal plot, which floats in and out of surreality like an adult Phantom Tollbooth, as its corkscrew turns of language ... In its clever compactness, Y/N resists the junkiness of the internet where they reside, the fanfics and the livestreams and endless comments.
A strange, funny, and at times gorgeous new novel ... Full of characters that squirm and run together, as if the reader were trying to decipher an out-of-focus eye chart, the book evokes how precarious identity itself can be. It also explores the consequences of subsuming your entire life in a desire for what may or may not exist ... Y/N is about the messiness of attempting transcendence ... Y/N unfolds as a series of digressions, false starts, and near-misses, with the book’s structure mirroring the thwarting and misdirection of the narrator’s desire ... Where Yi’s book feels new is in its acute awareness of how globalization amplifies this sense of incompletion. Not only are characters stuck wanting things they can’t have or don’t want once they have them but they are also incessantly reminded of all the people they will never matter to and all the things they will never acquire. Yi salts her novel with products that promise satisfaction and technologies that hustle connection and professional services that will take your money to teach you empathy.
Intricate ... We are forced to ask ourselves if Y/N truly means to be what it masquerades as: a zeitgeisty narrative of parasocial relationships. More than one character remarks on the likeness between Moon and the narrator, and these peculiar doublings, together with a claustrophobic sense of existential yearning, seem to point towards much older stories ... This is a curious, cerebral work, shot through with moments of tender poetry and a vertiginous self-awareness.