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Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

You may be tempted to rush through the seven essays in Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings; her prose, at turns accusatory, complicit, and castigating, is so urgent, there’s a fear the book will catch fire if you put it down for a moment. But Minor Feelings begs to be read and re-read, highlighted and underlined and margianalia-ed for decades to come. A scorching exploration of what Hong calls “minor feelings”—“the racialized range of emotions that are negative, dysphoric, and therefore untelegenic, built from the sediments of everyday racial experience and the irritant of having one’s perception of reality constantly questioned or dismissed”—this collection cuts to the heart of the Korean-American experience, calling on everything from Richard Pryor’s body of work to a long-overdue elegy for the late artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha to document the cumulative effect of prejudice on generations of Asian Americans.

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