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Anthony Veasna So Books In Order

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Afterparties: Stories (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Songs on Endless Repeat (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Anthony Veasna So
Anthony Veasna So was born in Stockton, California on February 20, 1992 to Khmer parents that fled Cambodia during the Cambodian genocide under the Khmer Rouge. Anthony graduated from Stanford University in the year 2014 with bachelor’s degrees in English and Art.

Originally, he went to Stanford with the intention of majoring in computer science. However he failed his classes during that first year, getting put on academic probation for plagiarizing code and getting suspended for a quarter, much to the shock of his family. It was around this same time that he came out to his family and got diagnosed as bipolar.

After that, he switched focus to literature and art, getting engrossed with artists like Mark Rothko and Diane Arbus and tried out stand up comedy for a short time.

After graduating from Stanford, he enrolled in the MFA program at Syracuse. It was during this time that he took a bus off to New York City and, on a Friday afternoon in the year 2018, walked into the offices of n+1 and introduced himself to Mark Krotov, its publisher. Krotov was charmed with Anthony and ended up speaking with him for two hours. He sent Krotov many of his stories, and “Superking Son Scores Again” was published in its next issue.

He was a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow and a Kundiman Fellow. In December of 2020, he received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Syracuse University. Anthony also received fellowships from Tin House, Kundiman, along with a Show Us Your Spines Residency with the James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center at the San Francisco Public Library.

Anthony was the salutatorian of his high school class, which was a sore topic, since he always believed he missed the top spot on a technicality. It was because of this B he got in Spanish class, and was the only grade he got in high school that wasn’t an A.

Anthony had also taught at the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants in Oakland, California, Colgate University, and Syracuse University.

His writing has appeared in n+1, The Paris Review, ZYZZYVA, the New Yorker, and Granta.

“Afterparties” was the subject of a bidding war between publishers, with Ecco being the winning publisher and offering Anthony a six figure sum for two books.

In his younger years, he would sit at his computer during Christmas gatherings with his incredibly loud Cambodian American family, while the relatives talked over each other and played games. It might sound like he was receding into the background, but he was really taking notes on everybody, and writing his next piece.

During his childhood, he would hear these traumatic tales about his family’s experience surviving the war/Pol Pot’s regime which somehow always would land on a joke, some irreverent but hopeful gesture to claim ownership over their brutal history. It was because of these family stories that he knew he wanted to be an artist/writer of some kind.

Anthony worked in his dad’s auto repair shop, using old newspapers to clean all the windows in order to save money. His dad would make jokes whenever he’d complain about working, telling him that the chores were nothing in comparison to working in the rice fields.

Anthony claims that he isn’t much of a reader. He reads very slowly, and never really finishing anything. Instead, he reads thirty opening paragraphs in a day, and then lose interest, then interrogate himself as to why he lost interest. However his boyfriend, Alex, can read a book in a single day.

He’d be reading Hannah Arendt or whomever, and start actively thinking Hannah Arendt type thoughts. Then he’d talk to Anthony all about it, and before long, Anthony would be thinking those kinda thoughts too. The ideas kinda takes hold and take him over.

Anthony died at the age of 28 on December 8, 2020 from a drug overdose at his residence. At the time of his death, he lived with his partner, Alex Torres, in San Francisco.

His book of short stories, “Afterparties”, was released almost eight months after he died.

“Afterparties” is a collection of short stories that was released in the year 2021. The book seamlessly transitions between the tender hearted and the absurd, balancing acerbic humor with some sharp emotional depth, and offers up an expansive portrait of the lives of some Cambodian-Americans.

While the kids of refugees carve out some radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and are forced to grapple with the complexities of friendship, race, sexuality, and friendship.

A failing grocery store owner and a high school badminton coach attempts to relive his glory days by beating a rising star teen player. Two drunken brothers go to a wedding afterparty and hatch a plot to expose their shady uncle’s snubbing of the groom and bride.

A queer love affair sparks between this older tech entrepreneur attempting to launch a ‘safe space’ app and a disillusioned young teacher that is obsessed with Moby-Dick. And in a sweeping last story, a nine year old kid learns that his mom survived some racist school shooter.

This book is a wildly energetic, original, and heartfelt debut by a young writer. These stories, which are powered by Anthony’s skill with the telling detail, are like beams of affectionate, wry light that falls from different directions on a complex, struggling, and beloved American community. Anthony is able to explore the lives of these unforgettable characters with some bracing humor and a startling amount of tenderness. This is a shocking collection of stories from quite an exciting new voice.

This book is a fearless and bright read, filled with joy, unforgettable characters, and heart. These are characters filled with longing, love, and laughter, as well as the possibilities that life offers to them and the ones that it hides.

Anthony shows how terrific of a writer he is with this collection of these wild, funny, and complex tales which are brilliant in each way. They also speak in rather profound ways to this troubled American moment in time.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Anthony Veasna So

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