San Mateo County Libraries is excited to host K-Ming Chang on Tuesday, September 7 at 7:00 PM! K-Ming Chang will discuss her debut novel, Bestiary, a spellbinding and visceral tale of three generations of Taiwanese-American women haunted by the myths of their homeland, their family’s queer desires, violent impulses, and buried secrets.
One evening, Mother tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman’s body. She was called Hu Gu Po, and she hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterward, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt arrives with snakes in her belly; a brother tests the possibility of flight. As Daughter falls for Ben, a neighborhood girl with strange powers of her own, they begin to translate the grandmother’s letters; Daughter soon begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies a myth—and that she will have to bring her family’s secrets to light in order to change their destiny.
Browse our catalog to place a hold on Bestiary today! Beginning Monday, August 23, all San Mateo County Libraries locations will give away promotional copies of Bestiary while supplies last. Grab your copy and register in advance for our live virtual author event on September 7. You can also purchase your own signed copy of Bestiary through our Foundation.
Praise for Bestiary and K-Ming Chang
K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman Fellow and Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her poems have been published in Ink Knows No Borders, Best New Poets 2018, Bettering American Poetry Vol. 3, and the 2019 Pushcart Prize Anthology, among others. Bestiary is a New York Times Book Review editors’ choice and was named one of the best books of the year by O: The Oprah Magazine, NPR, the New York Public Library, and Kirkus Reviews.
“[A] vivid, fabulist debut . . . the prose is full of imagery. Chang’s wild story of a family’s tenuous grasp on belonging in the U.S. stands out with a deep commitment to exploring discomfort with the body and its transformations.”—Publishers Weekly
“Written in a prose style as inventive and astonishing as the story it tells, to read it is to enter a world where the female body possesses enormous power, where the borders between generations are porous and shifting. A worthy heir to Maxine Hong Kingston, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, and Jamaica Kincaid, K-Ming Chang is a woman warrior for the 21st century—part oracle, part witness, all heart.”—Jennifer Tseng (Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness)
“BESTIARY is crafted at the scale of epic poetry: origin stories that feel at once gravely older than their years, yet viscerally contemporary. Chang knows well that the life of a family—marriage, immigration, queer coming-of-age—can so often feel like a wild and tender myth, being spun and unspun by its members, again and again. These are fables I wish I’d had growing up.”—Elaine Castillo (America Is Not the Heart)