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Matthew Salesses Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Last Repatriate (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hundred-Year Flood (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sense of Wonder (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

How to Greet the Mother Who Bore You (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Different Racisms (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Craft in the Real World (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

When We Become Ours(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Matthew Salesses is a South Korean author of nonfiction and fiction books. He is the author of the national bestselling book Craft in the Read World. His book Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear was also longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award and a finalist in the PEN/Faulkner Awards. Adopted from Korea, Matthew was named as one of the 32 Essential Asian American Writers in 2015.

Most of his essays can be found in popular publications such as NPR Code Switch, Best American Essays, The New York Times,, and The Guardian. His short fiction work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Glimmer Train, Witness, PEN/Guernica, and other publications. Matthew has received fellowships and awards from Bread Loaf, the Dublin Literary Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Matthew works as an assistant professor of writing at Columbia University. He graduated from the University of Houston with a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing and later a master’s in fine arts from Emerson College. He is on the editorial boards of Green Mountains Review and has held other editorial positions at The Good Men Project, Pleiades, Gulf Coast, and Redivider. Matthew has lectured at various conferences, universities, and on radio and television.

Some of the most famous work of fiction about sports revolves around elite athletes with a liking for logic. Such elite athletes are the main players in Chad Harbach’s 2011 novel, The Art of Fielding, Don DeLillo’s 1972 book End Zone, and Matthew Salesses’s 2023 novel, The Sense of Wonder. This novel focuses on the fractured relationship between two famous New York Knicks players and the bigger themes of fidelity, class, and racism and the friends and lovers in their circle they must deal with.
In the first few months of 2012, Jeremy Lin, the first-ever Taiwanese-American NBA player, helped the New York Knicks win seven games in a row. The cover of Sports hailed Lin’s success, and the fans around the world showered him with praises.

Beyond smashing his opponents on the court, Jeremy Lin had so much burden to deal with outside the court. He dealt with racist taunts from the Media, which had once praised him. For example, a Fox Sports columnist mocked Jeremy’s private parts. And when Jeremy’s winning streak went haywire, an editor for ESPN posted an image of Jeremy with the caption, “Chink in the Armor.

Matthew Salesses, a Korean-American author and a big fan of basketball, saw those reactions to Jeremy Lin as a clear example of the unique kind of racism that Asian Americans often experience in the United States. Shortly after the ESPN incident, Salesses shared a very personal essay in which he expressed, “When the hurtful comments started coming – just as we were afraid, they might, even though we hoped they wouldn’t – it felt like that first time we looked in the mirror. We realized that, despite all of Jeremy Lin’s achievements, many Americans still view us Asians as different and treat us differently from other races.”
Matthew Salesses has turned his reflections on Jeremy Lin into an insightful novel titled The Sense of Wonder. Spanning 10 years, Matthew’s book reflects on the loss of his young wife, the growing popularity of Korean television in the United States, and the tragic shooting of Asian American spa workers in Atlanta. It’s now more acceptable to discuss the connections between tragedy, pop culture, and anti-Asian prejudice compared to a decade ago.

Despite its profound examination of the various aspects of racism, this novel is remarkably fast-paced and physical. Salesses skillfully depicts the swift movements of the basketball players on the court – their pivots, feints, and shots. His sentences move swiftly, just like the ball itself. A lot is happening beyond the basketball arena.

Won grapples with a complex relationship with his team’s captain, a Black player known as Powerball. Their natural comradeship as teammates is constantly strained by the different racial stereotypes that Black and Asian players encounter. Won also finds himself entangled with a Korean American reporter from ESPN, who both envies Won and idolizes Powerball. This situation presents challenges for Won, as he’s tied to the reporter and feels a sense of responsibility just because they are both Korean Americans.

The Sense of Wonder powerfully evokes memories of Jeremy Lin, especially since Won also plays for the Knicks. The story is narrated from two perspectives: Won’s and his girlfriend Carrie’s. Carrie is a TV producer who aspires to introduce Korean dramas (k-dramas) to American audiences. She is determined to propose a basketball drama as her next project.

In his debut novel, The Hundred-Year Flood, Matthew Salesses employs concise and impressionistic prose to undertake the task of recreating the events leading up to and the aftermath of a devastating flood.

The story unfolds in the aftermath of 9/11, commencing with the tragic suicide of Tee’s uncle. In an effort to escape the turmoil that faces his family, Tee makes the bold decision to forgo his final semester at Boston College and embark on a journey abroad. He chooses Prague, a city that values anonymity and the duality of being someone and no one simultaneously, as the canvas for his quest to get a new identity.

Tee forms a deep connection with Pavel Picasso, a renowned painter from Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution, his wife Katka, and a friend Rockefeller. As the city braces itself for a flood that occurs once every century, Tee finds himself intricately entwined with the lives of these three Czechs.
Salesses exhibits remarkable clarity of vision and message. Each chapter and section mirrors the impending flood, from its foreboding presence to its inevitable arrival, guiding us toward its catastrophic culmination. Through this symbolic flood, we gain insight into the tumultuous undercurrents that shape Tee’s life as he grapples with questions of identity, adoption, and his family’s history. The author employs his troubled protagonist to portray the complexities of growing up. He reflects on the swirling confusion and enduring invisibility that mark the experiences of Asian Americans. He handles the subject matter with care, avoiding heavy-handedness.

The true standout of the novel, however, is its lyrical and poetic prose. Salesses excels at crafting elegantly simple sentences that profoundly penetrate the core of his characters’ experiences and often resonate with our own. Each character in the story is in pursuit of something more, yet they grapple with a profound sense of self-uncertainty.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Matthew Salesses

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