RF Kuang’s Novel Yellowface and Diversity in US Publishing

by Leanne Ogasawara


Does the title of the novel make you cringe or what?

In RF Kuang’s latest novel Yellowface, the setup is simple: within pages of the book’s opening, two frenemies –who met at an elite university–are having dinner together. Athena, who is Asian-American, has seen tremendous success in her work. The other woman June is white and has been anything but successful. Not surprisingly, June is envious of Athena’s career….Could it be because Athena is a drop-dead gorgeous person of color? Could it be because of her sexy British accent and tall ballerina-like figure?

Or maybe it’s because she is an incredible writer and knows what she’s doing?

June can only keep wondering…. Until, suddenly during Athena chokes on a pandan pancake and dies.

And yes, you guessed it: June steals Athena’s manuscript-in-progress… Read more »