Reviews

Afterparties, by Anthony Veasna So

delz's review

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emotional funny hopeful inspiring reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

5.0

This collection of stories is written by Anthony Veasna So, a descendant of Cambodian/Khmer immigrants who “survived” the Cambodian genocide. The stories have heart, wisdom and wit. They coalesce into the landscape of generational trauma suffered long after escape. Their suicides, poverty, drug addiction while trying to live the American dream. While trying to provide their children with better lives, with determination, and eventually successes. 

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emmehooks's review

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dark emotional funny hopeful reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

4.5

This is the kind of short story collection I would have loved to read with a book club. Every story creates a universe full of nuance and life and left me with more questions and thoughts at the close than the start. 

beautiful prose sharing glimpses into American Khmer existences, generational trauma, and queerness .

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sheabutter33's review

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emotional funny hopeful reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

balkeyeston's review

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4.0

"I'd lived with misunderstanding for so long, I'd stopped even viewing it as bad. It was just there, embedded in everything I loved."

AFTERPARTIES is a short story collection of Cambodian Americans in California. Many of the main characters are the children or grandchildren of Cambodian survivors of the Khmer Rouge, a collective second generation Cambodian American voice embodying both inheritance and independence. The collection spans several generations and hints at the spiritual traditions of karma and reincarnation, which feature heavily in the form of monks praying for a failing auto shop, or a nurse caring for a dying Ma who thinks the nurse is her long-lost sister. Names that appear in passing as side characters in an earlier story reemerge in full force later on to tell their own tales, much like the layers of an onion exposed to open air if you keep peeling to its center, biting back tears along the way. In a community where everything feels connected, each character holds a story of their own that circumvents the recursive nature of inherited anguish.

Favorite stories: "Three Women of Chuck's Donuts," "Superking Son Scores Again," and "The Shop."

bookishaddictions's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative reflective tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

This one has been on my shelf forever it seems, so it was time to give it a read. I started this hyped to learn since I don’t normally hear much about Cambodian Americans, and I found I myself researching often and learned quite a bit. Overall, I thought the stories were interesting. Each of the short stories depicts one people living their daily (and often connected) lives; this includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. This book did make me uncomfortable in a bad way though, and that ultimately made it a three star read for me. I do not have an issue with smut or dirty scenes in themselves, however, I typically like my books to be upfront about there being sexual content. I was not prepared for the amount of detailed sexual content was included, so it caught me very off guard. If there had been some indicator that there was sexual content in this one, I think I would have been cool with it. On the bright side, there was a lot of talk of yummy sounding food; I’m now looking to see if I have Cambodian near me 🤣✌🏻

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raisinreads's review

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emotional reflective
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.75

nibs's review

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medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

4.5

I really liked it. I love how rich the characters were, how there was subtle interlinkings between the stories and how it was dedicated to sharing stories of the Khmer experience in central California. I liked the layer of queerness in some of the stories. I love how human it is. 

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ahmedajama's review against another edition

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emotional reflective
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

cararrie's review

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4.0

“They imagined a future severed from their past mistakes, the history they inherited, a world in which-with no questions asked, no hesitation felt-they completed the simple actions they thought, discussed, and dreamed.”

yaara's review against another edition

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5.0

i loved this