DAYS OF DISTRACTION: A NOVEL
By Alexandra Chang
In this beautiful, urgent, “coming-of-adulthood” novel, author Alexandra Chang redefines the concept of distraction. Her main character, also named Alexandra, is stuck at an underpaying tech-reporter job in San Francisco and unsure of her position, so she delves into the details of what constitutes a life, even though so much still lies ahead. A story-driven inquiry into issues of race, technology, family, loss, success, and love ensues as she follows her long-term boyfriend, J, from the West Coast to Ithaca, NY. Once there, Alexandra ends up with an even stranger job for a mysterious mega-company and, in her personal time, starts studying the history of noted Chinese immigrants, like renowned medical prodigy Yamei Kin (credited with introducing tofu stateside). As Alexandra’s attempts to communicate with J about his white privilege increasingly fail, the relationship seems on the brink of falling apart. So she visits her father in China, where, in a metaphor come to life, she finds it impossible to find any shoes that fit.
The most exciting aspect of Days of Distraction is the way information is revealed. Chang holds back for a long time until, suddenly—just as in life—everything is exposed. (4/5)
By Liza Monroy
This piece originally appeared in the Spring 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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