Days of Distraction

Days of Distraction

A Novel

eBook - 2020
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"Startlingly original and deeply moving.... Chang here establishes herself as one of the most important of the new generation of American writers." — George Saunders

A Recommended Book From
Buzzfeed * USA Today * Vanity Fair * New York Magazine * O, the Oprah Magazine * Parade * Wired * Electric Literature * The Millions * San Antonio Express-News * Domino

A wry, tender portrait of a young woman—finally free to decide her own path, but unsure if she knows herself well enough to choose wisely—from a captivating new literary voice
The plan is to leave. As for how, when, to where, and even why—she doesn't know yet. So begins a journey for the twenty-four-year-old narrator of Days of Distraction. As a staff writer at a prestigious tech publication, she reports on the achievements of smug Silicon Valley billionaires and start-up bros while her own request for a raise gets bumped from manager to manager. And when her longtime boyfriend, J, decides to move to a quiet upstate New York town for grad school, she sees an excuse to cut and run.

Moving is supposed to be a grand gesture of her commitment to J and a way to reshape her sense of self. But in the process, she finds herself facing misgivings about her role in an interracial relationship. Captivated by the stories of her ancestors and other Asian Americans in history, she must confront a question at the core of her identity: What does it mean to exist in a society that does not notice or understand you?

Equal parts tender and humorous, and told in spare but powerful prose, Days of Distraction is an offbeat coming-of-adulthood tale, a touching family story, and a razor-sharp appraisal of our times.


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booknrrd
Jun 29, 2020

The narrator is a young woman in her twenties who works at an online tech magazine who has repeatedly asked for a raise and been put off. She is dissatisfied and knows that she wants to leave, but she isn't sure what she wants to do instead. Meanwhile her live-in boyfriend is applying to PhD programs, which may give her out the out that she desires, but then what? Also, he's white and she's the daughter of Chinese immigrants, which has its own tensions and challenges.

This is a good story of a woman at loose ends, the challenges she encounters being Asian and dating outside her race, and just trying to figure things out. I also thought it was a good examination of corporate pay structures and how racism and sexism can change how you interact with the world.

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