THE UNPASSING

 
The Unpassing - Chia-Chia Lin
 

Praise

"For all of its pathos, its themes of cross-cultural intermingling, its stories of immigrant arrival, marginalization and eventual accommodation, “The Unpassing” is a singularly vast and captivating novel, beautifully written in free-flowing prose that quietly disarms with its intermittent moments of poetic idiosyncrasy. But what makes Lin’s novel such an important book is the extent to which it probes America’s mythmaking about itself, which can just as easily unmake as it can uplift." --Brian Haman, The New York Times Book Review

"Lin’s attention to detail is startling, and though she keeps close to Gavin’s childhood experience, she also allows us to read between the lines and intuit the depth of the family’s grief, financial straits and fear of belittlement from their white neighbors and colleagues. Anyone who has ever grieved ― be it the loss of a person, home, country or security ― will feel a sense of recognition. The Unpassing is a remarkable, unflinching debut." --Ilana Masad, The Washington Post

"An arresting portrait of an immigrant family’s pivotal moment of crisis . . . a nuanced portrayal of the American frontier . . . Lin’s spare, lyric prose sets an elemental stage, a place indifferent to human suffering, cycling through life and death on a larger scale . . . Lin takes us through crisis and personal questioning, reminding us that we are closer to the brink than we’d like to admit . . . The Unpassing is a powerful debut from an author to watch." --K.B. Thors, San Francisco Chronicle

"[A] grim, breathtakingly beautiful debut novel . . . Lin excels when she gets small, with finely observed renderings of the family’s surroundings . . . The way this chilling, captivating book concludes will delight as much as it challenges, offering as it does a blend of escape, tragedy, triumph, loss and what we’ve expected all along." --Nathan Deuel, The Los Angeles Times

"Harrowing . . . In lyrical, intimate prose, Lin reveals the harsh realities of working class life in 1980s Alaska and the failed promises of the American dream." --Thomas Gebremedhin, The Wall Street Journal Magazine

"What The Unpassing does is so brutal yet intensely immersive that questioning Lin’s choices feels like asking for a novel far less authentic . . . It’s brutal, but marvelous. The prose is so sparse that it feels designed to describe Alaska, and Alaska alone." --Kamil Ashan, The A.V. Club ("A" rating)

"In this spare, deeply felt debut novel, Lin resists received wisdom about the American dream to craft a family saga about the difficulty of grieving far from home." --Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire

"The Unpassing took me a while to get through, but not because I was bored. Because every single sentence was stunning . . . This isn't a page-turner. It's a full on page-savorer." --Mehera Bonner, Cosmopolitan (Best Books of May)

"A complicated and refreshingly unromantic family drama . . .One of the immediate pleasures of Lin’s writing is the heightened perception it brings to [its] environments . . . At its heart, The Unpassing is about newcomers striving in the margins between civilization and the forest for a basic sense of security that others have long taken for granted. It’s a kind of modern pioneer story, stripped of sentimentality but pulsating with both love and dread for the wilderness." --Charles Black, Outside

"Lin’s evocative passages and brilliantly observed details place the reader in a landscape rendered at turns foreboding or desolate by the family’s calamities. There is much to savor in her deft ability to conjure atmosphere." --YZ Chin, Electric Literature

"Stunning . . . With powerful and poetic prose, Lin captures the uncertainty and insight of childhood . . . Lin's majestic writing immerses the reader in the bodily experiences of her characters, who writhe, paw, dig, salivate, and draw readers into their world." --Maggie Taft, Booklist (starred review)

"Lin’s talent for vivid, laser-sharp prose―especially when describing Alaska’s stark beauty or the family’s eccentric temperament―is undeniable." --Kirkus

“Chia-Chia Lin captures the strangeness and beauty of childhood better than any writer in recent memory, and she is a brilliant observer of physical and emotional landscapes … this debut novel, a true work of art, displays the kind of clear and uniquely-angled vision that announces the beginning of a remarkable career.” — Jamel Brinkley, author of A Lucky Man

“It’s difficult to think of another recent book in which emotion mounts so steadily and inexorably, nearly imperceptibly, until the last pages arrive with almost unbearable force. Chia-Chia Lin is among the best new writers I’ve read in years.” — Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

“The Unpassing is a breathtaking novel, full of characters as strong and as wild as the Alaskan landscape they inhabit.  Sentence after gorgeous sentence, I was pulled into their eery and beautiful world.  Chia-Chia Lin is a remarkable writer.”  — Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing

“Chia-Chia Lin has written a novel of such strange, brittle beauty as to resemble nothing else so much as living, itself. Her prose—at once poetic and lucid, by turns darkly comic and haunting—achieves something like the peculiar grammar of loss. I turned the last page with heartache and wonder, a feeling of having been undone and remade." — D. Wystan Owen, author of Other People's Love Affairs

“Chia-Chia Lin’s The Unpassing is a searing, open wound of a book, marvelously alive and, quite simply, remarkable. Traversing the oftentimes brutal frontier of an isolated family living in an isolated environment, I can’t think of another novel as of late that relentlessly tackles headlong our deepest struggles for a sense of place, of home, and belonging … This is a story for our times. And a story unlike any other.” — Paul Yoon, author of The Mountain