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by K-Ming Chang

“Lurid, funny, strange, and deftly sorrowing—an important new voice.”—Kirkus, Starred Review


K-Ming Chang burst onto the literary scene in 2020 with Bestiary, a novel that Justin Torres (We the Animals) declared “burns to be read, and read again.” T Kira Madden (Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls) raved, “Chang isn’t just a new voice in the landscape; she is building a new landscape entirely.” And the critical reception was just as rapturous: Bestiary was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, NPR Best Book of 2020, longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, among many other accolades. The verdict was clear: K-Ming Chang was a new voice to be reckoned with. And now, with Gods of Want, she handily demonstrates her staying power.

Imbued with the silken sensuality and potent viscerality that ensnared readers of her first novel, Gods of Want delves even deeper into the startling juxtapositions that give her work its hypnotic quality: the erotic and the grotesque; corporeality and ghostliness, the quixotic and the quotidian. This is a collection of sapphic desire, of hunger, of the ecstatic rejection of female frailty and respectability. In “Auntland,” a steady stream of aunts adjust to American life by sneaking surreptitious kisses from women at temple, buying tubs of vanilla ice cream to prepare for citizenship tests. In “The Chorus of Dead Cousins,” ghost-cousins cross space, seas, and skies to haunt their live-cousin, wife to a storm-chaser. Elsewhere in the collection, widows are birthed from silk cocoons; snakes of blood swallow young girls whole and evade capture; a holy tea is brewed from hymns. 

“Gods of Want is bursting with language and images so striking, so sure of their own strength, I found myself stunned,” writes Dantiel Moniz (Milk Blood Heat). K-Ming Chang’s disarming and mesmerizing mastery of prose achieves dizzying new heights here, offering loyal readers and newcomers an experience to savor. These stories may be short, but their impact – and aftertaste – are absolutely immense.


K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She is the author of the novel Bestiary, which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.