Book Notification

Esther Yi Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Esther Yi is best known as a literary fiction author that made her name with the publishing of her debut novel “Y/N,” which came out in 2023.
The work has since become a cultural phenomenon becoming a bestseller in the United States and across the world.

The author was born in Los Angeles in 1989 and got her bachelor’s degree in literature and history from Harvard University.

She would then move to Berlin where she worked for the Global Public Policy Institute as an associate editor. During this time, she contributed to the institute’s communications and editorial process.

Yi has said that she was inspired to pen “Y/N” her debut novel in 2017. She had been traveling on a bus to Providence from New York City when she had the inspiration to pen a novel about a woman that had an obsession with a K-pop star.
The idea appealed to Esther Yi since it initially sounded blissfully stupid as she hardly knew anyone who had an obsession with celebrity personalities.

She also decided to make use of her Korean heritage and the fact that she was an Asian American living in Germany to provide many interesting insights. Just like the lead in her novel, she has for the longest time been at odds with her identity.
The longest Esther Yi has ever lived in one place was when she spent five years in Los Angeles where she was born. Her family never stayed in one place for long and hence she has never felt a sense of place anywhere she has lived.
When she turned 24 she left the United States to fo make her home in Berlin and she has been living in various cities in Germany ever since.

The sum of her lived experiences often made her question the symbolic importance of being Korean American particularly since we live in a very hyper-politicized world.

As such, when she writes her fiction she prefers not to present social class, race, country, or nationality. It is for this reason that she prefers not to call herself a Korean American female writer or an Asian American writer. She prefers to be just a writer.

As for why Esther Yi decided to pen a pop culture novel, she has said that she has always found fandom and K-pop to be very fraught arenas. K-pop is something that in her opinion deals with displaced spirituality.
She finds it interesting that stars and celebrities are often referred to as idols. This is something that hardly anything else an average person would call.

The main character in her debut novel has no outlet for her massive devotion. She never goes to church cannot lose herself in sexual passion, cannot fight for her country, and cannot make a great work of art.
She thus decides to turn to K-pop and it is from this that the author gets insights into her obsession. For Yi, it is not just a delusional exercise. Rather, it is a natural aftereffect of the conditions under which she is living.

“Y/N” by Esther Yi is a thrilling work in which metafiction and po collide.
The work follows the life and times of a Korean American woman who is a resident of Berlin. She spends much of her time working as a copywriter with no other outlet and this leads her to develop an obsession with a K-pop group.
From its earliest pages, the novel makes use of popular music as it wrangles with literature and art on a grand scale. For example, the narrator provides insights into the metatextual obsessions of the band.
With each album released, the boys enter into a new era. While preparing for the current era, they pondered Oedipus’s decision to blind himself in Sophocles.

Yi also makes use of different ways through which fandom resonated in pop culture. The title of the novel is in actual fact a reference to a form of fan fiction where the reader is asked to substitute their name with Y/N.
At some point, the lead says fandom is a way of measuring chronology as it was at some point the only way young people kept track of time.

When Moon who is the main character’s favorite member of the band and the main character of her fan fiction decides to retire, she decides to go to Seoul where she visits the community in which her father was brought up.
Her experiences make her start thinking about how she has related to the Korean language. She had grown up speaking Korean but had no Korean handwriting of her own as she had never written anything in the language.
Including the narrator’s own fanfiction gives the work an archetypal quality making for a surreal quest.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Esther Yi

Leave a Reply