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Rachel Khong Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Goodbye, Vitamin (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Real Americans (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Publication Order of Anthologies

Retro 4: Selections from Joyland Magazine(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ploughshares Summer 2021(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Rachel Khong is a writer and editor responsible for ‘Goodbye, Vitamin’, a novel that took the publishing world by storm in 2017.

Rachel is a pretty accomplished author, having acquired degrees from Yale and the University of Florida. The author first made her mark with the Lucky Peach Magazine, working as an executive editor. Lucky Peach no longer exists.

But its demise did not stop the author from experimenting with literature. Rachel Khong’s literary efforts have appeared in publications like ‘The San Francisco Chronicle’, ‘Joyland’, and ‘The Believer’.

Rachel Khong enjoys reading the works of authors like Renata Adler and Elizabeth Hardwick. And her love for women writers has allowed her to manifest in her work some of the techniques she has stumbled across in books like “Why Did I Ever’.

Rachel writes very personal stories. She isn’t one to delve into epic tales about exaggerated heroes and heroines doing the impossible. Rachel is all about the real world. She writes about real people dealing with real problems.

And she never pulls her punches. She isn’t afraid to delve into the darkest recesses of the mind, revealing those aspects of human nature that can make life so difficult. Rachel Khong’s protagonists are largely based on her own personality. In fact, the people that know her initially thought that Ruth, the hero of her first novel, was some version of her.

Rachel admitted that she had taken some aspects of herself and then exaggerated them somewhat to produce Ruth. However, she denied the claims that ‘Goodbye, Vitamin’ was in anyway autobiography.

Rachel Khong’s fiction is written in the first person. This approach allows Rachel to put herself in the shoes of her characters and to apply some of her personal sensibilities to her characters. This explains why the author’s characters are sometimes mistaken for autobiographical versions of Rachel Khong.

This is also the reason why Rachel likes to write about real people living in the real world. More importantly, Rachel likes to write about real people that she knows living in a world that she understands and dealing with problems that make sense to her.

The Asian author would never write about an aging white man living in Canada because she cannot put herself in the shoes of such a character. And she wouldn’t enjoy the process of researching such a character.

Ruth is a weary woman when readers first meet her. She is approaching her thirties and she isn’t in the best place mentally. She just suffered a breakup and the emotional toll it is taking on her person is almost more than she can handle. She is forced to go home for a year to take care of her father who has begun to lose his memories. There she learns a little more than she cares to about her parents.

By the time Rachel Khong wrote Ruth’s story, she had just hit thirty. She was struggling with the idea of what that meant, the fact that her life wasn’t nearly as perfect as she had expected it to be at that point. She was also nursing a breakup and struggling to deal with the resulting emotions.

More importantly, Rachel had watched her grandmother deal with Alzheimer’s, so she understood the disease somewhat.

It comes as little surprise that Rachel wrote the story of Ruth and did so brilliantly, attracting praise and recognition from most corners of the literary arena. Rachel Khong has shown an uncanny ability to take her life experiences and turn them into compelling fiction.

‘Goodbye, Vitamin’ had every reason to fail on the publishing market. The book covers a year in Ruth’s life. The novel ignores the more dramatic aspects of Ruth’s journey and instead focuses on those quiet moments in between. This Rachel Khong story had the potential to not only be dull but also dreary.

However, Rachel shows that she has the capacity to tell her depressing stories even while injecting humor into the mix. The author’s prose is also really impressive. She is able to say so much using so few words.

+Goodbye Vitamin

Most people know Howard Young as a history professor of considerable prominence. Not many people know that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. When the disease begins to take its toll, Anna, the wife, calls upon her daughter for help.

Ruth just got out of a relationship. The departure of her fiancé has left her heartbroken and she doesn’t know how to recover. The thirty-year-old thinks that life has dealt her a serious blow. She isn’t where she hoped she would be at her age.

So when her mother calls, Anna abandons her job and heads home. Anna and Howard are in a far worse state than Ruth imagined, or so she thinks when she first arrives home.

Howard grows more erratic as his memories begin to fade away. Anna doesn’t how to deal with him and she keeps looking for the source of his mental problems in all the wrong places.

Ruth doesn’t understand what is happening to her life. As the situation begins to devolve, she cannot help but see the comedic side of things. It helps that she has so much to do taking care of her father.

Many critics consider Rachel Khong’s debut novel to be a masterpiece. The book is very simplistic in nature. However, it has so much to say.

Ruth takes center stage as a thirty-year-old woman whose life is seemingly falling apart. When Ruth’s father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s she is a little reluctant to go home. The stories of her father’s infidelity and drinking have left her feeling less than positive about her family situation.

But his diagnosis pulls her away from her miserable life and she comes home. In the year that she is home, Ruth’s perspective on life changes. She reconnects with old friends and gains a deeper understanding of her parent’s relationship. Before long, the grief she held over her breakup begins to fade.

+All About Eggs

This is a cookbook, though it would be accurate to call it a handbook on eggs. The book basically explains why eggs are the most important food in the world. Rachel scrutinizes the egg as an item from all possible angles even while explaining the different ways it can be prepared.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Rachel Khong

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