Cover Image: Edge Case

Edge Case

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Member Reviews

Very interesting.  While the narrative wound around, you were pulled into the story.  I found myself eagerly awaiting the next direction in Edwina and Marlin’s story.

Chin did an excellent job of conveying all of the emotions caused by Marlin’s sudden departure, along with trying the story into the thoughts and feelings of Edwina’s reflections on the different departures in her life.

Definitely a book I would recommend.
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Edge Case by YZ Chin is a mystery/drama about Edwina, a Chinese Malaysian immigrant, searching for her husband, Marlin, after his mysterious, uncharacteristic disappearance. We learn about Edwina's childhood: her mother's scathing criticisms and judgements, including stories of Edwina's "evil acts" in past lives to explain the present and her dismissal at work as a QA Analyst in tech, a heavily male-dominated field. At first, I thought this was going to be more "psychological thriller" in the vein of Liam Neeson's Taken. However, despite it leaning more into mystery and drama, I stayed hook because of the questions: where is Marlin? Why did he leave? From Edwina, we learn that even those closest to us can change before our eyes and without us even noticing.
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This book had me feeling every kind of way. It was definitely more literary than I am used to but I still enjoyed it,.
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Edwina’s husband, Marlin, is missing. Eliminating possible hideouts, she finds him at a friend’s house in Queens, unwilling to speak to her. She reviews his recent behavior since his father’s death to try to understand his exit. As a testing analyst for coding, she has come across something referred to as an “edge case,” a rare mistake missed by a coding engineer that results in a program bug. With this in mind she pursues the glitch in her married life. Attempting to make adjustments to her personal habits, she aggressively drops a vegetarian diet by eating copious amounts of meat. She has never felt fully  “approved” by society, in either her Malaysian homeland or the U.S., her adopted country. As a non-citizen, Asian Muslim and solitary female employee in her company, she has experienced several micro aggressions. Despite her alien status, she pursues the search for answers which are revealed through a dialogue with her therapist. YZ Chin’s novel is a commentary on culture, marriage and immigrant status in America.
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Edge Case was a different “missing person” read which I really liked. Edwina and Marlin, immigrants from Malaysia, are married and living in NYC where Edwina works for a tech startup and one day comes home and Marlin is gone. This book goes through Edwina’s search, memories, and understanding of why Marlin would leave. It’s emotional, witty, dark, and raw. It’s an interesting read and Yz Chin does a great job of keeping you interested.
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I was lucky enough to get an early look at YZ Chin's EDGE CASE through the Bookperks newsletter. Thanks for the opportunity, and have a lovely weekend!
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Edwina, an immigrant from Malaysia who now works at a startup company in New York City, comes home from work one day to find her husband is missing. She begins rehashing their relationship in her head, trying to pinpoint what exactly went wrong; what caused him to leave. This is a novel about the immigrant experience as much as it is about what it means to navigate a relationship. Chin delves into Edwina’s memories of the early days of their budding relationship: and Edwina revisits the things that bound them together as a couple, as well as what tore them apart. Sharply written, at times quite funny, this is an interesting and compelling read. Thank you to Ecco Books and to NetGalley for the advanced review copy.
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"You did say my story sounds fascinating, so here it is..."

Edge Case tells the story of the broken marriage between Edwina and Marlin and how Edwina’s search for her missing husband became, at the same time, a journey toward self-discovery and acceptance.

"It’s hard to pinpoint an exact beginning to the end."

Packed with meaningful themes like love, loss, identity, immigration, and familial expectations, and told from the perspective of a first-person narrator with a very dry sense of humor, Edge Case seemed like exactly the kind of book I would love.

"I, like anyone else, had been dropped onto certain tracks at birth. Class, sex, race, physical and mental limitations, nationality, native language—we don’t get a choice."

And, honestly, it started off pretty good. The book is written as though the narrator is speaking to a therapist, so there was a sense of progressively-growing rawness and vulnerability, which seemed authentic and appropriate. I found Edwina to be likeable, relatable, endearing, and, in moments, darkly funny. At first.

"I had no idea who I would soon become."

But things went off the rails a bit for me with a few cringe-inducing moments that just felt weird, unnecessary, and entirely out of place. Interspersed among all this beautiful empathy and vulnerability were these weird, stream-of-consciousness moments where Edwina reflects on her itchy belly button, or wipes her face with some prosciutto, or [(spoiler) does something truly horrifying with her period blood], and I just... could not.

"It is so hard to trust our own thoughts."

The cringe factor eventually overshadowed everything else, and I couldn’t reconcile that discomfort with the sweetness I saw in other places. I would have called this a 4-star book if not for some of those really strange moments, but the disconnect in tone throughout the narrative just made for a very confusing reading experience overall. 2.5 stars, rounded up.

"No one teaches how to unwrite a story. I wish I could undo the tales I told about myself in America."

—-

Professional Reader

Thanks to YZ Chin, Ecco, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Edge Case by Yz Chin
🖐 Takeaways

Edwina and her husband Marlin are on the same path. Neither one eats meat. Both work in the tech industry. Both are trying to get their green cards to stay in the U.S. But one day, Edwina comes home to discover that she’s all alone. She begins searching for Marlin while learning to navigate her goals and feelings without him.

1️⃣ The character growth is incredibly satisfying in this novel. Edwina and Marlin evolve after their wedding, and their changes feel so realistic and relatable. 

2️⃣ I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy the backdrop of the tech industry, but it worked really well as a part of Edwina’s metamorphosis.

3️⃣ This is loosely structured as a series of messages to an almost-graduated therapist. It adds nothing to the story, and I don’t get why we get occasional reminders that Edwina is talking to this unnamed person.

4️⃣ Edge Case is character driven, so don’t come here looking for a strong plot. (Although the search for Marlin is pretty interesting for readers who typically shy away from character-driven novels.)

5️⃣ Chin beautifully explores Edwina’s struggles in her career, body, relationship, and experience as an immigrant. Edwina’s story isn’t neat, but it’s raw and exploratory in an important way.

If you’re here for a likable main character who’s wading through uncertainty and slowly finding her next steps, check this one out when it comes out next month.
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Unfortunately this book was not for me. I could not get into it. I found myself drifting off as I was reading and lost interest.
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There was something special and unique about "Edge Case" that I couldn't resist. Usually I don't like character-driven novels, but this one blew my expectations. It was such a fast and engaging read. I remember thinking I'm either really going to love or really hate it. It's just one of those kind of books. It's weird and quirky, and yet I couldn't stop reading it. The story is simple, Edwina's husband, Marlin leaves her, and Edwina begins to fall apart and is left to ponder what weren't wrong in their marriage. The writing was excellent. YZ Chin's prose is electric, snappy, and emotional. I loved the banter/dialogue between Edwina and her controlling mother. It was so realistic. This story also touches on immigration. Edwina and Marlin are working towards getting their green card, but as Edwina starts unravel without Marlin, she begins to question if she really wants to stay in America or return to her home country. It's funny, I'm not entirely sure why I loved this novel so much. I guess it was just the feeling it gave me. "Edge Case" was definitely a diamond in the rough. 

Thank you, Netgalley and Ecco for the digital ARC.
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I am loving this book. There is so much I can relate to an ex-pat living in the US. All those emotions that you have when you live somewhere away from home are really heartwarming. Loved the plot and the characters. One thing I must say is the author's choice of words which is amazing. I love it when an author grabs my attention with his/her writing style and I could not put it down making me want to finish the whole book in a sitting.
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This book started off really interesting but quickly lost steam. The main plot of the story is the husband disappears but he's only missing for a short while and the rest of the book he just seems like a jerk. There's more to it than that, but by the time it gets there I don't even really care anymore and I skipped a bit to get there. The title suggests there is a bigger subplot or tie in with her work but it never really happens in a big way so the title doesn't really fit that well. I feel like it could have been great but got too slow and the main characters were hard to relate to.
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I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book, especially with a summary that made it seem like a mystery, but it's a quiet gem of a novel.

Edwina, a Chinese Malaysian immigrant who works as a QA tester at a startup, comes home from work one day to discover her husband, Marlin, has left. Marlin is an engineer at an IT company, and is also a Chinese Malaysian immigrant, though he is mixed race and has darker skin, leading to many microaggressions and racist encounters with DHS. Edwina begins to spiral, wondering where Marlin is, and begins rethinking her identity as she reflects back over her decision to emigrate, the beginnings of her marriage to Marlin, her career choices, and whether to move forward with the green card process or go back to Malaysia.

While there is certainly a plot to this novel, it is at its best when Edwina talks about her relationships, including the difficult and fat-shaming one she has with her mother, the less-than-perfect times with Marlin since his father passed away, her misogynistic coworkers, and her best friend Katie, who is the child of Chinese immigrants and thus doesn't have the same cultural struggles that Edwina does (not to say she doesn't have them, but they are different). 

I really related to the difficult relationship Edwina has with her mother, and the continuing sense of love she has for her that is also tied up with resentment and obligation. Chin is able to illustrate these tensions very skillfully, but still with a hint of dark humor.

If you like clever and heartfelt meditations on culture, immigration, relationships, and identity, I highly recommend this one.
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The characters and plotline fell a little flat for me. I appreciated a lot of concepts explored--sexism and racism in tech, complex relationships with Asian parents, xenophobia in America, and the incredibly stressful process of getting a green card and citizenship--but I had a hard time connecting with the main character. Parts of the book felt disjoint from one another in a way I couldn't quite place.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley and Ecco books for providing me with an ARC  in exchange for my honest review.

Edge Case is a unique story idea.  A young couple from Malaysia are in America working, married, vegetarian/vegan, trying to get their green cards.  All they have is each other and then the husband goes missing.  The story is relayed through the character speaking with her therapist— although at times that is lost in the book.  I don’t feel that negatively impacts the book— but it does seem to come and go.

The story is interesting and the awareness the main character gains throughout about herself, her family and environment are what make the book worth reading.  The author does a wonderful job of deceiving everything our character must go through to be able to stay in the US and hope to get a green card—I think many of the situations may come as a surprise to the reader, I know they did for me. 

I enjoyed the book.  The development of the quirky, somewhat awkward main character was endearing and you couldn’t help but feel her embarrassment and want to look away at times.  I feel the book would have benefited from a more detailed view of her husband’s actions and behavior, but with the book being told in the manner it was we obviously only get the information from what the main character experiences of her husband.  

An interesting read in the same vein as Convenience Store Woman and Good Eggs.  I look forward to seeing more from this author.
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3.5 stars, rated down to 3. 

The concept of "Edge Case" is very interesting: Marlin and Edwina are a Malaysian couple that live in the United States- they hope to get their green cards in order to be able to continue their lives in the US. But Marlin has changed in the past few months after the death of his father in Malaysia, and one day Edwina comes home to find that her husband is gone. His suitcase is gone, and in order to not raise any alarm with authorities, she sets off on her own to find him. On this mission, she goes through a journey of self-discovery about her relationships with others. 

There were many points in the story that were memorable. Commentary about life in the States when you are not a citizen, grief and how it shapes people, vegetarianism, life in New York City... as short chapters, I enjoyed a lot of individual excerpts. As a whole though, I felt that there wasn't enough going on to enjoy the story as a fictional narrative. The ending is as uneventful as much of the story itself. 

I recommend this story for people who are interested in commentary about immigration, marriage, loss, and other social topics. Thank you Netgalley and Ecco for an advanced copy of "Edge Case" in exchange for an honest review.
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“Isn't it strange?
I am still me
You are still you
In the same place
Isn't it strange?
How people can change
From strangers to friends
Friends into lovers
And strangers again”

I am working my way through Ted Lasso. At the end of season one episode seven there is a song by Celeste. The song is haunting and the placement in the show was amazing. 

But strangely it seeped from the show that I am watching into the book that I’m reading. Isn’t it weird how that happens sometimes? 

Yes, there is more to this book. It’s about a Malaysian immigrant wife who is left by her husband. Her struggles with finding who she is. Is she married or divorced, Malay or American, vegetarian or omnivore? 

But to me it was a story chronicling their relationship. The beginning, the middle and the ending. Strangers to friends, friends into lovers and strangers again. 

Thank you to Ecco and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book.
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What a delightful read. I, myself, am not a fan of a first person narrative nor am I fan of an author jumping from past to present. That said, this was something that was able to rise above all of my collective dislikes about books.

It was well thought out in addition to being well presented. Often time I saw myself in the heroine, doggedly determined to get to the end, yet fretting about everything while getting to her ultimate goal - finding her husband.

What I did appreciate was the way Edwina found Marlin - everything was organic. It didn't feel far fetched or ludicrous.

I did find the ending a tad bit abrupt, but apt. 

I look forward to reading other works by YZ Chin.

A massive thank you to Ecco and NetGalley for giving me this opportunity to read a thoroughly enjoyable book.
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With immigration and the hatred towards them such a big thing in our society today, I requested to read Edge Case for a good read and some insight. The story is about a Chinese couple from Malaysia who move to the US to take tech jobs in the hopes that they can eventually get their green cards and stay forever. While Edwina thinks all is well in their marriage, her husband one day ups and leaves without so much as a warning or even a note. She spends much of the rest of the book trying to figure out what went wrong and searching for him. IN searching for her husband, she begins to find herself instead. She goes through a decade's worth of changes in a very short time, and the upheaval should have netted more dramatic results, IMHO. The ending didn't go anywhere in the way I expected. Perhaps that is on me, but I think author YZ Chin could have wrapped the story up better. However, it was still a very interesting read about the nature of immigration, identity, and the intersection of both in the USA.
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