Real Americans by Rachel Khong

From the author of the beloved Goodbye, Vitamin comes an epic family tale spanning decades and continents. Within the first few pages, totally immersed, I knew this would be one of those books I talk about for months and years to come, recommending it to everyone. 

The novel opens in New York on the cusp of Y2K, and we follow Lily, an unpaid intern at an online travel magazine. Flat broke and living in shared accommodation in Chinatown when she hits a strike of luck and meets Matthew at the company holiday party. Matthew is rich beyond her imagination and despite her efforts to push him away fearing their incompatibility, they fall madly in love.

The timeline moves forward to 2021, and we meet fifteen-year-old Nick Chen who lives on an isolated island near Seattle with his single mother. Nick has always felt a longing to know about his father, but Lily is not forthcoming with information. Along with his friend Timothy, he takes a DNA test and the results set him on a path he could never have imagined. 

Told from the perspectives of three generations from the sixties to present day, Real Americans is as much a story of family as it is about friendships, along with the complexities of life, hopes and dreams, and love, lost and found. With each turn of the page, this story expanded in the most captivating of ways.

What Rachel Khong has crafted is a beautiful, timeless, and powerful story, and one that will certainly impact all kinds of readers. It’s a book I didn’t want to end, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Rachel Khong is the author of Goodbye, Vitamin, winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction, and named a Best Book of the Year by NPR; O, The Oprah Magazine; Vogue; and Esquire. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Cut, The Guardian, The Paris Review, and Tin House. In 2018, she founded The Ruby, a work and event space for women and nonbinary writers and artists in San Francisco’s Mission District. She lives in California.

Real Americans is available for purchase in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook format. Check or for a retailer near you.

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