Cover Image: Gods of Want

Gods of Want

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Member Reviews

"And then you tell your daughter all the stories in history about mothers-in-law who beat concubines to death with a chamber pot, mothers-in-law who rip themselves open by shoving their sons' full-grown heads back inside themselves, sometimes up the wrong hole..." 

I received an ARC copy of this book from Netgalley, and I'm so glad I did. The cover initially drew me to it because it's gorgeous, but the prose kept me engrossed throughout the book. This author has a serious way with words that had me laughing and nodding solemnly all at once. The author embellishes and exaggerates these things that, at the heart of the matter, we can all relate to and understand, at least to an extent. 

I also really enjoyed how this book was sectioned off. It made reading between chores, or during a drive really easy, because I could finish a story and bookmark the next. While I don't think the writing will be for everyone, I do recommend giving this a read. As a half-Chinese woman with a mother who grew up in Taiwan, I found a lot of the stories interesting from that standpoint, where I could read something and nod my head and be like "yes, that's how my nainai was as well" , etc. I particularly liked Mandarin Speakers and Meals for Mourners.
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Reading this book was (and I cannot stress enough that this IS, absolutely, a compliment) a little like having a migraine aura: the worlds that K-Ming Chang create have the same strange, rippling, and almost worryingly beautiful quality. As the rating indicates, I loved this collection; I was fascinated by it; I couldn't quite bring myself to look away, even when what faced me was, occasionally, viscerally disconcerting. I have been thinking about it since I started it, and I'm not sure I will stop doing so anytime soon. 

The stories in this collection are connected largely by what I might think of as leitmotifs – there were plenty, but water, mouths, and eating came up again and again, most notably, for me. This is definitely the kind of book I could read several times and still feel like I haven't completely grasped.

Particular favorites: "Dykes," "Nüwa," "Mariela," and "The Chorus of Dead Cousins." But every story in here was absolutely worth the read; while I always find that there are some stories I like more or less in a collection like this, I didn't feel like any of them were "weak links" in the collection, and its cohesiveness was honestly quite stunning. 

I will absolutely be recommending this one far and wide; what a strange and uncomfortable delight. (I do also think Bestiary is moving up to the top of my TBR pile.) Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an e-ARC.
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A collection of short stories from the author of Bestiary, a book I read and loved last year. This book brings all of the things I loved about that book back: intense and poetic storytelling, winding tales that weave through fantasy and reality, moments of beauty and queerness, vivid imagery and magical realism.

As with any collection of short stories there are some that I just loved and others I didn't connect with as much, but they are all rich and imaginative. I tend to connect with stories that remain a bit more grounded then the ones that go fully into magical realism, the stories that make me feeling like I'm being lifted off the ground, but still allow me to keep a toe on the ground.

If you liked Bestiary, you will like this one too. And if you haven't read the author's work yet, this is a great place to start. Also recommend it for fans of Helem Oyoyemi and Carmen Maria Machado.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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AHhh what a weird and wonderful book!!! This makes me want to read everything K-Ming Chang writes forever. The stories were all so kooky, so brilliantly imagined, but all felt like sisters. The strange little motifs, like weird-looking childhood friends and bizarre aunties, were delicious reminders of how cohesive this all was. It reminded me of the strange grossness of Sour Heart a bit. It felt like an honor to spend time in the author's odd little world, like it's something special that should be protected. Loved it.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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K-Ming Chang’s prose is gorgeous and haunting in this short story collection. Visceral yet serene, there’s a fluidity to these stories that’s echoed in both the water motifs and in the blurred lines between corporeal and spiritual. The book is divided into three sections: Mothers, Myths, and Moths, and the interplay between these sections is beautifully woven throughout. “Auntland” is a strong opening, and establishes early on the significance of cultural and familial ties in the collection. However, it was “The Chorus of Dead Cousins” that thoroughly drew me in — it’s dark and surreal, yet tender and even funny, which is a winning combo for me. “The La-La Store” was also a particularly poignant family portrait, and a story I immediately earmarked for teaching. As a mythology nerd, I loved every story in the “Myths” section, with the surreal, dystopian nature of “Dykes” as a stand-out for me. The collection comes full circle in the final segment, beautifully weaving together the relationships between not only the characters in the stories, but between the ideas and images carried throughout the work.

For me, this was reminiscent in tone and style of several of my favorite short story collections from the past few years, such as Carmen Maria Machado’s The Body and Other Parties, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Friday Black, and Mariana Enriquez’s Things We Lost in the Fire; if you enjoyed any of those works, you will also appreciate this collection.
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Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader's Copy!

Available July 12 2022

I was blown away by K Ming Chang's Bestiary. Now in Gods of Want, Chang expands on the same themes, revisiting the family, friends and strangers. These stories walk between the grotesque and the beautiful, finding hope in grief, and voice in the senseless. Each story surprises and delights, shaking what is possible with the written word. I can't wait for everyone else to read this collection!
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Thank you, One World, for allowing me to read Gods of Want early!

I loved K-Ming Chang's writing in Bestiary and I love her short-story collection even more if possible. Each tale was a masterful depiction of craft and storytelling. Emotional. captivating, heavy, surreal and extraordinary, all of them were like a beautiful prickly rose.
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*sobbing violently* Gods Of Want perfectly depicts what it is to be a queer woman in today's world, hauntingly intimate even in racial matters I, as a white person, couldn't relate to. Tender, careful and written with obvious passion, each story in this collection shines---even when I was forced to stop reading for a couple weeks because of college I could still remember every story I'd read in great detail, a testament to how impactful and lush Chang is a writer. Each tale spins and stretches to its limit, touching every surface it reaches for, secure in its accomplishments. It made me cry and smile and vomit and rock in a fetal position when it inevitably reaches its high. Chang is surely a writter to look out for, officially a new favorite.
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Ignore the star rating, because I made it to 42% before giving up. I'm simply not gelling with the stories and it may very well be that I am outside of the demographic (and that's one reason I don't want to mark stars, since it's not the author's fault). That said, Chang is a lovely writer and has a way with words that leaves me hoping this collection of stories reaches the ears it needs to, the hearts it speaks to. I did, at least, learn some foreign words

5 stars for the cover and name, though.
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Review posted on instagram: “ I was lucky enough to receive an early digital arc of Gods of Want by K Ming Chang and there’s no way I could wait until August to talk about it so please accept this 2 minute graphic until I have a physical copy to show off when my pre order arrives in the summer!😅 

K Ming’s novel Bestiary explored complex familial relationships so well and this short story collection touches upon those themes even further with stories including a chorus of dead cousins, many different aunts, mothers, siblings, and my favourite story ‘Xífù’ in which the characters mother in law keeps pretending to kill herself to make her daughter in law look bad (a story I found darkly funny). 

Some of the other main themes that run through this collection are bodies- especially womens bodies- queerness, myth, and heritage, all explored through K Ming’s unique and surreal voice and perspective and littered with grotesque imagery throughout from cracked teeth, pulled tongues and pee, to worms, shit and bodily fluids- this is the gross, uncomfortable, yet realistic, female representation I crave!!

This book is so unique, but if you enjoy the grittiness of Ottessa Moshfegh’s descriptions of the body, love surreal queer stories like Sarahland and like your stories steeped in myth and family lore, please consider preordering this collection as preorders always help the author and I cannot recommend this collection enough!! “
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I was entranced by K-Ming Chang’s debut novel, Bestiary, and this followup book of short stories similarly highlights Chang’s unique voice and sensibility; but as I often complain about short stories in general, their brevity prevents a reader from really connecting with characters before they disappear and I find myself missing that opportunity for emotional connection. Nevertheless, I found much to like in this collection — Chang is certainly never boring — and I will happily seek out whatever the author comes up with next. 

Once again, Chang writes with a provoking and distinctive style: The publisher’s blurb calls this “feminist fabulism” and her themes center around otherness (queerness, immigration, sexism) and invoke the ghosts and myths of her Taiwanese heritage. Always from a female POV, girls and women work for low pay in massage parlours, hair and nail salons, and retirement homes; as cleaners and waitresses and sushi chefs. There are recurring, disturbing images — cracked teeth, hands plunging into toilets, the trash creek, things that are “scab-colored” — but there is also, frequently, redemption found through family ties, storytelling, and romantic love. The collection is separated into three sections, each centered around a theme (“Mothers” are family-centric stories, “Myths” are the most fabulist, “Moths” are ghost stories). And while most stories start with a simple, declarative sentence (She pronounces dollar like La-La, so I say it the same. or Her name was Pussy, but the rumor was she didn’t have one.), they often end on a poetic note: The widows never woke: They hung there in the dark, molting into wind, playing their bones like flutes. or: Melon fled the bed, opening every window for the smoke to migrate out and calcify in the sky, slender and white as a bone plucked alive from the hole of night. As with any collection, some stories suited my own tastes better than others, but I found this to be very strong overall and have no problem giving four stars.
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