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(Hybrid) Scamming the American Dream with Kirstin Chen and Grace Ly

Wed 22 November 2023 @ 19 h 30 - 20 h 30


Join us at the Library for a conversation with Kirstin Chen, author of the bestselling novel Counterfeit, and writer and podcaster Grace Ly.

Kirstin Chen’s Counterfeit is a sly novel that defies expectations, twisting and turning in ways that produce a sharp inversion of Asian and Asian American stereotypes. The novel follows Ava Wong, a Chinese American lawyer and mother whose life is upended when she is pulled into an international scam to sell counterfeit luxury purses. As the novel moves along, Chen peels back layers of irony and deception, revealing the ways in which Ava’s story plays with biases – in order to subvert them. 

In this exclusive event, Chen will reflect upon some of the core themes of her work, including Asian American identity, cultural belonging, and feminism. Along the way, we’ll learn about how Chen uses plot twists, humor, and other narrative techniques to achieve her incisive cultural commentary. The conversation will be moderated by writer and podcaster Grace Ly. 

About the speakers:

Kirstin Chen is the author of three novels: Counterfeit, Bury What We Cannot Take, and Soy Sauce for Beginners. Her forthcoming book, Tech Wives, unmasks the myth of tech founders as solitary geniuses by contemplating the women who enable their success.

Grace Ly is a writer and podcaster based in Paris, France. She is the author of « Est-ce que tu as faim ? (Are you hungry?) » (2023), a children’s book illustrated by Mélody Ung and a novel “Jeune fille modèle” (Model Teenager) (2018). The webseries “Ça reste entre nous” (« Just between us ») focuses on the plurality of paths and choices of French East and South-East Asians along 6 episodes. Since 2018, she co-hosts the podcast “Kiffe ta race” with journalist and director Rokhaya Diallo and explores how race affects everyday life in France.

Learn more:

The New York Times describes Counterfeit as “an entertaining, luxurious read — but beneath its glitz and flash, it is also a shrewd deconstruction of the American dream and the myth of the model minority.” Read the rest of the review here.

Kirstin Chen joined Lit Hub columnist Jane Ciabattari for a conversation about Counterfeit and its deconstruction of the “myth of the model minority.” Read their conversation here.

Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (Chen will appear in the Reading Room), the Library will stream the conversation on Zoom for a live viewing experience. Both in-person and online attendees will be able to pose questions.

Attendance at this event constitutes permission for your photograph or video to be taken at the event and used by the American Library in Paris for marketing, promotional, pedagogical, or other purposes.

Copies of Counterfeit will be available for purchase at the Library in the week leading up to this event and while the event takes place, generously provided by Smith&Son. All sales support this local independent bookstore.

Attendees will have the opportunity to have their copy signed following the conversation.

Evenings with an Author are free and open to the public (with a 10€ suggested donation)
thanks to the generous support of Gregory Annenberg Weingarten of GRoW @ Annenberg.


Wed 22 November 2023
19 h 30 min - 20 h 30 min
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(Hybrid) Scamming the American Dream with Kirstin Chen and Grace Ly
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