Member Reviews

Another short story collection where the stories just felt like random accumulations of scenes that simply come to an end. The one I liked best was the one about house-sitting early in the book, but it—like the other pieces here—didn't go anywhere by the conclusion. Bummer.

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Such a wonderful and eclectic array of short stories for those who love literary fiction and the messy girl vibes. Will definitely be recommending this to my reviewers.

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Such a mixed bag.

Overall, very few of these stories were memorable. Most were like a 2 or 2.5 star read. The premise for them was always interesting, but the executions just continuously fell flat for me.

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These short stories were a mix for me! Some I couldn't wait to go back and reread to analyze further and others lacked depth. Regardless, I enjoyed Alexandra Chang's writing style and I'll be looking for more from her in the future.

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I didn’t realize that this was a short story collection but I throughly enjoyed it, but would I normally pick it up.

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I enjoyed this collection of short stories. The stories explore race, identity, belonging, and sadness in a way that is jarring but deeply relatable. Each story was completely different from the last, and that kept the pace of the book engaging, though I did find it challenging to read more than 2-3 stories in one sitting because they were so varied in character and content (which I think is a good thing!) and because they were, more often than not, very melancholic.

This is a book meant to elicit certain feelings from the reader, and I think it does so very successfully. Do not read this if you're looking for an easy, light read. The content of these stories is dark and the writing is often experimental and somewhat challenging, but if you're up for it, it's absolutely worth a read.

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I am very late to write this but happy to say this title has been super popular at my library!

I really enjoyed Tomb Sweeping. In the vein of Shit Cassandra Says, I found Tomb Sweeping very voice-y and enjoyable. The characters were expertly described and rightly deserved the reader's empathy or scrutiny.

This was just what the doctor ordered.

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One of my favorite short story collections of the year, this collection was fantastic from start to finish.

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I'm not a fan of short story collections, so my negative review may be unfair. This was not my cup of tea; while I don't love short stories, I don't think this would be popular in my collection.

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Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author Alexandra Chang for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This was my first experience reading Chang's work as I'm unfamiliar with her previous works. For the first work especially a short story collection which can be difficult for a writer to master, Chang succeeds. Chang's short stories have a wide range of characters and types of stories. There's always enough to entice the reader and to keep them surprised. Chang's tone is both hopeful and melancholic, but it never steers either way managing to balance both.

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Special thanks to Ecco and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.

As always, short stories can be a hit or miss or a variation of both, but Alexandra Chang put together a short story book that I found myself enjoying.

I loved this one and look forward to more from Chang!

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The stories in Alexandra Chang’s TOMB SWEEPING are infused with a sense of the lost: moments of missed connection, lost opportunities and lives, people wrecked by history and trauma. In clean, clear prose, Chang portrays the present state of people in the throes or the aftermath of loss.

Although not every story ends with sadness and loss–and hope does shine through–the collection as a whole echoes the idea of “tomb sweeping,” as the living reckon with their dead (both the literal dead and the lives that are dead to them), or with the slow process of aging and loss. The titular story, for example, shows the echoes of Japanese war atrocities in the mental world of a twelve-year-old Singaporean Chinese girl.

The stories often take original and interesting forms: One story moves backward in time, taking us from an elderly “Asian recycling lady” through her life as a Chinese immigrant wife to her girlhood as a bright and promising student. Another story conveys a woman’s inner world through the way she inhabits a wealthy couple’s home when housesitting. In other cases, the stories feel more biographical–for example, following a woman through decades of her life, where we see the inner strength and rebellion that drives her to get involved in a gambling ring and ultimately land in prison.

The stories are perceptive and insightful and diverse–showing emotion with a cool reserve. Overall, a well-written book that is both beautiful and somber.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Ecco for the eARC.

Short story collections can be hit or miss for me, but Alexandra Chang put together a delightful group. I loved this book and look forward to more by Chang.

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An enjoyable character-driven short story collection, but not necessarily one I'll remember. I didn't dislike any, but some stood out more than others (Klara, Phenotype, Cat Personalities). Overall thought provoking but by no means a standout collection with lasting impact.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a copy of an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Chang’s collection of stories was an enjoyable read that presents a variety of situations and narratives in the lives of young women. I really appreciated the various voices and experiences of the characters in these stories. Furthermore, it was interesting to see the challenges and situations that many of them faced, whether it involved career, family, dating, and especially concerns about aging parents. Some of the stories are humorous and relatable—I really enjoyed the story about the woman who works for a streaming camera company, and how she tries to have her parents use the technology. Also, the story about the mistaken identity, towards the end of the collection, was really funny and interesting, touching on stereotypes with an absurdity that made me think about my own assumptions. Other stories were poignant and moving. Although more like an experiment, there is a shorter story that traces the life of a woman, and it was creative. Maybe not for everyone, but I appreciated it. Overall, this is a fantastic collection that exhibits a variety of characters and more importantly the strengths in Chang’s story-telling and character development.

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An instance where judging a book by its cover paid off! The cover immediately caught my eye. I knew I had to read it at first glance and I am so glad I did.

‘Tomb Sweeping’ is a timely short story collection that is wide-ranging. We explore human connection, loneliness, friendships that are complex and drift apart, the path a person takes when they feel frustrated with their ambition and have no outlet to channel it to, expecting parents, the growing influence and consequences of technology, and more.

I love reading stories about immigrants and immigrant families and there were a few that touch on their journeys and feelings of hope and the crushing realization of the realities, randomness, and unfairness of life.

Some had a mysterious and eerie tone to them like Unknown by Unknown and others I found really sweet and endearing like Phenotype.

There were a few that stood out to me...
- Li Fan, which I see as the universal favorite among readers, is a great reflection of Chang’s talent as it is a 3 pager telling the story of a woman's life backward starting with her death
- Farewell Hank, this one made me laugh as we see a wife throw a farewell party for her husband who is very much alive
- Phenotype, an unexpected relationship blossoming in a biology lab that sweetly shows how the only opinion of a relationship that matters is the opinion of the people in it
- Other People, a mistaken identity leading to the weirdest date you will ever witness

Thank you so much for the copy Ecco!

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This was a slice of life style anthology of stories. I loved the exploration of womanhood, family, and technology. Some of the stories were witty and thought provoking.

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This is a collection of character-driven short stories. These tales offer captivating snapshots of young women grappling with the complexities of modern life in both America and China. The book's diverse array of stories contributes to its compelling narrative, characterized by concise and impactful storytelling free from melodrama. Each character is intricately portrayed, showcasing their deep humanity.

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This is a really good short story collection, an easy afternoon read to immerse yourself in, and I really enjoyed the diversity of each piece while having common connective style and prose.

I’m not sure how impressionable and memorable it will be for me in the long run, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless!

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A great mix of stories about legacy, immigration, and changing relationships between children and parents. Well-written and fluid writing.

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