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Publisher's Summary

Instant New York Times best seller

A Roxane Gay's Audacious Book Club Pick!

Named a Best Book of the Year by: New York Times * NPR * Washington Post * LA Times * Kirkus Reviews * New York Public Library * Chicago Public Library * Harper’s Bazaar * TIME * Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air * Boston Globe* The Atlantic

A vibrant story collection about Cambodian American life - immersive and comic, yet unsparing - that offers profound insight into the intimacy of queer and immigrant communities

Seamlessly transitioning between the absurd and the tenderhearted, balancing acerbic humor with sharp emotional depth, Afterparties offers an expansive portrait of the lives of Cambodian Americans. As the children of refugees carve out radical new paths for themselves in California, they shoulder the inherited weight of the Khmer Rouge genocide and grapple with the complexities of race, sexuality, friendship, and family.

A high school badminton coach and failing grocery store owner tries to relive his glory days by beating a rising star teenage player. Two drunken brothers attend a wedding afterparty and hatch a plan to expose their shady uncle’s snubbing of the bride and groom. A queer love affair sparks between an older tech entrepreneur trying to launch a “safe space” app and a disillusioned young teacher obsessed with Moby-Dick. And in the sweeping final story, a nine-year-old child learns that his mother survived a racist school shooter.

The stories in Afterparties, “powered by So’s skill with the telling detail, are like beams of wry, affectionate light, falling from different directions on a complicated, struggling, beloved American community” (George Saunders).

©2021 Anthony Veasna So (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

Editor's Pick

Laugh, and cry, laugh, and cry…
I was prepared for Anthony Veasna So’s short story collection to rip my heart open. His extremely buzzy debut is posthumous, because the promising literary star passed away suddenly before its release, at only 28 years old. His witty, modern look at Cambodian immigrants and their children through a startling diversity of characters and situations showcases a piercing emotional range and blazing talent, reminiscent of Denis Johnson and Lucia Berlin, that it’s tragic to have lost. Yet somehow, I’m laughing my way through it. Who else would describe a rich woman’s Louis Vuitton bags as ''so giant I swore they had gained consciousness and could swallow me whole were I to transgress their master'' or a mechanic who was ''always finding himself in oppressive regimes—first under Pol Pot, then under his wife''? The casting choice of Cambodian American actor Jason Sean, a graduate of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, is spot on. One hopes So is being feted with the metaphysical afterparty this treasure of a collection deserves. —Kat J., Audible Editor

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What listeners say about Afterparties

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good stories bad reader

The stories are important , meaningful and sometimes funny.
the reading was primitive and irritating to listen to. the reader subtracted from the overall experience. if you want to listen to this book wait for another reader.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good Stories

I like the short stories. It felt like a friend sharing their life experiences or stories that they heard from their own community.

I had a hard time listening to this story with the narrator. Pacing , rhythm, and enunciation was not great.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Decent stories, poor narration

The stories are rendered almost inert by the most stilted and lifeless reading I have ever encountered in an audiobook. At times it sounded as if the actor were himself learning to read as he labored through the words.

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Brave and Bold

I’ve heard the Narrator does a poor job in pronunciation of Khmer words and narration in general. I thought it was appropriate for what it was. I can hear and imagine all things “Cambodian” when he speaks and mispronunciation of words and perceived awkward narration was overall.. helpful for me imagining another genuine Khmer/Cambodian.. my thinking is that this was intentional.. tragic to lose such young and promising talent.. I was honestly taken back by the blunt vulnerability and raw delivery of your shared experiences.. Thank you for your stories, A.V.S.

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  • 03-22-22

Great stories but…

I’m so sad we will not read anymore from this author. Enjoyed all of the stories and especially appreciate the insight into the Cambodian community. Some complained of the reader but I felt his style gave the stories more of a true flavor of the community.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not a good narration, okay story.

Narration is quite bad, the reader is just not a good reader. I had to re-listen a lot of times to figure out what was being said. I’ve listened to a lot of audio books, and this is the first one where I wanted to slow down the speed.