HYBRID / NONFICTION
Release Date: October 7, 2019
#RECURRENT / Civil Coping Mechanisms
for a long time, i was unsure how to lay my body down to rest. should i ease onto my back, letting the ceiling overwhelm me until sleep, or deliriousness, came? or should i stifle whatever tormenting thoughts were keeping me with the cotton mesh of pillow? perhaps it was simpler than that—a single unfolding, so that flesh could hang from bone, and the spirit unhinge itself from the body. these works were begat from this question of how the body might lay, and in doing so, evacuate itself. but enough with nonsense. this work is about form, and auto/meta/fiction as a means of looking back at the inscrutable body, to create a reflection for moments in which the mirror fails us. but don’t mistake it for my encore! that, dear Reader, is yet to come. for now, this is all that you may take of me.
American Symphony is a portrait of a portrait, a mirror’s reflection of someone that’s gone missing, a speculative memoir that takes cues and challenges from works by Kathy Acker, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Jenny Zhang. S has made it her duty to be the editor, piecing together how ! had disappeared, picking apart the words that ! had left behind in hopes of discovering what went wrong. Through a captivating assemblage of literary pieces, S solves the puzzle, inadvertently creating an impression of what people remember most of the missing and the dead. Melancholic and bravely honest, Suiyi Tang has achieved something thought to be impossible, taking linguistic fortitude and bending it into a new shape, achieving new emotional heights.
Where in the American literary landscape has there been a place for a text like Suiyi Tang’s American Symphony: Other White Lies? Here is the work of an Asian American female millennial—fiercely intellectual; embodied; by turns, exuberant and melancholic, artistic and theoretical, personal and political—that deserves to be read and heard amid and beyond the usual cacophony of praise for young white writerly yearnings.
In a voice that is wry, shattered, and undeniable, American Symphony takes a torch to the myths of the “model minority,” the available female “Oriental” sex object, and the technically-brilliant-but-not-creative “Asian” while also ripping through the raced and gendered lies undergirding our ideas of nation and aesthetics. A brilliant debut.
– Dorothy Wang, author of Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry
American Symphony: Other White Lies is an existential travelogue that reminds me just how much the hyper-conscious 21st-century self sometimes longs for abandonment; if only we could unshackle ourselves from the conditions of our era, our origins, even our memories. Tang’s prose is at once futuristic yet nostalgic, deeply interior yet fantastical, and freely associative in search of its own set of truths. The worlds Tang has built linger, and their insistent weight is sure to incite revelations big and small.
– Grace Shuyi Liew, author of Careen
Suiyi Tang’s AMERICAN SYMPHONY: OTHER WHITE LIES is a polyphonic work that shatters genre boundaries and subverts our ideas of the singular “self” or the singular voice. It contains multitudes, each dynamic sentence twisting blade-deep. It’s truly symphonic: at once lyrical and essayistic, humorous and visceral, this novel will rearrange your insides. It’s unrelenting and immersive and peppered with breathless moments of language (“she was much too buoyant to be buried.”) I was lost and found in the span of these pages.
– K-Ming Chang, author of Past Lives, Future Bodies
SUIYI TANG lives in the scopophilic corridor. she is the editor of SPHINXX and a student of literature and american studies at williams college, where she is at work building an archive of ballpoints and prophetic clicks. previous works can be found in Entropy, fanzine, the poetry project, cosmonauts ave, winter tangerine, and others. you can find her at @tangsuiyi or legitimizedinprint.com