Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Penguin Press
Publish Date
6.5 X 9.7 X 1.39 inches | 1.47 pounds
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About the Author

Elaine Hsieh Chou is a Taiwanese American writer from California. Her debut novel Disorientation was a New York Times Editors' Choice Book, a Malala Book Club Pick and an Indie Next Pick. A 2017 Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow at NYU and a 2021 NYFA Fellow, her Pushcart Award-winning short fiction appears in Guernica, Tin House Online, Ploughshares, LARB Quarterly Review and elsewhere. She was a Black Warrior Review Flash Fiction 2020 Contest Winner and an Iowa Review Awards 2020 Finalist. Her short story collection Where Are You Really From is forthcoming in 2024.


"The pleasures of Elaine Hsieh Chou's campus satire are in high supply . . . In the tradition of Donna Tartt's The Secret History and Elif Batuman's The Idiot, Chou has written a delightful new chapter of dark academia." --Vogue

"Disorientation does what great comedies and satires are supposed to do: make you laugh while forcing you to ponder the uncomfortable implications of every punchline . . . Chou's novel is a promising debut, one that makes this reader look forward to what she will make fun of next." --Leland Cheuk, The Washington Post

"This book has so many stifle-a-strangled-laugh lines you might want to refrain from reading it in a library or a train's quiet car. Chou's novel is a send-up of the polite, cardigan-draped white supremacy of liberal arts colleges . . . Between hiring a private investigator, staging a break in, flooding a gender neutral bathroom, and smoking weed with a professor, she uncovers a shocking truth--an act of racism in the academic world that had gone unnoticed for decades . . . In an entertaining takedown, Chou explores who the university really belongs to." --Glamour

"Disorientation is a deeply smart, satirical novel that takes a critical look at racism in academia." -- Buzzfeed

"Chou's debut novel is a searing literary satire of campus politics." --Entertainment Weekly

"[S]earing satire . . . Chou details her protagonist's struggles with dry humor and wit." --Time

"Disorientation satirizes academia, PC culture and every other topic it touches, bringing into question the very etymology of its title. Occasionally veering toward absurdity, the novel finds its way back to painful reality in a dizzying-yet-delightful oscillation...Though you would never know it from how fun this wild ride is, Disorientation is a seminar bursting with lessons on race, gender and culture, complete with a bibliographical Notes section and everything. Chou clearly did her research." -- Associated Press

"A deft twist on the campus satire." --Vulture, Notable New Releases

"[Disorientation] is captivating, irresistible, and intensely readable, and what we ultimately come to literature to find . . . It can be difficult to envision a book tackling themes of identity, systemic discrimination, and exclusion as laden with humor, but this book certainly delivers . . . The book expands in scope with each passing page, integrating newer and more experimental forms and swallowing larger subject matter. We begin at the campus novel, at critiques of university hierarchy, and end up considering all of American politics and the evolution of racism, fetishism, and social stratification . . . [W]hat Disorientation shows us is that there is power in the page-turner, that literary merit and a unique, propelling story are not mutually exclusive. Of course, those of us who love reading know this already, but books like this show us that it never hurts to be reminded." --Malavika Praseed, Chicago Review of Books

"Fans of blistering American satires like Paul Beatty's The Sellout and Charles Yu's Interior Chinatown won't want to miss Elaine Hsieh Chou's electrifying debut Disorientation, which turns the campus novel on its head with its portrait of a Taiwanese American PhD student lost in her own research. Taking on fraught topics like appropriation and the 'model minority' in academia, it goes big in the best way, announcing an exciting new voice." --Chicago Review of Books, 12 Must-Read Books of March

"Elaine Hsieh Chou's debut Disorientation is an inventive campus novel that satirizes academia in an over-the-top, compulsively readable mystery. . . . Ingrid's identity as a graduate student is central to the novel, and Chou captures this experience expertly--the spirit of department politics, the competition between grad students, the deep sense of insecurity in your research, your future, yourself. Her identity is layered with her identity as a Taiwanese American woman; Ingrid's experience with her research subject is complicated by her largely white department and her own experience growing up in a white town. It's this complexity and Ingrid's personal journey over the course of the academic year that makes Disorientation not only an outrageously enjoyable academic mystery, but also a moving portrayal of self-discovery." --Ploughshares

"[A] deeply smart (and funny) satire on the pressures, power imbalances, and racism within the academic world." --theSkimm

"Gleefully dark and incisive . . . Chou's examination of the catch-22s faced by Asian Americans, particularly women, straddles the line between satiric and searing . . . Disorientation is the best combination of entertaining and thought-provoking, and Chou is an exciting new voice in novel-length fiction." --Shelf Awareness

"Chou effectively skewers a world that takes itself all too seriously . . . This will charm a wide set of readers, not just those pursuing PhDs." --Publishers Weekly

"A fresh, hilarious and thoughtful satire that'll make you think about cultural identity in a whole new way." --Good Housekeeping, The 15 Best and Most-Anticipated Books of 2022

"Disorientation is an irreverent campus satire that skewers white sclerotic academia, creepy Asian fetishists and twee boba liberalism, but lastly and most importantly, it's a satire, inspired by recent controversies, about an orientalist tradition and its manifestations today. Helmed by a memorable screwball protagonist, the novel is both a joyous and sharply-drawn caper." --Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings

"Chou's pen is a scalpel. Disorientation addresses the private absurdities the soul must endure to get free, from tokenism, the quiet exploitation of well-meaning institutions, and the bondage that is self-imposed. Chou does it with wit and verve, and no one is spared." --Raven Leilani, author of Luster

"Disorientation is a multivalent pleasure, a deeply original debut novel that reinvents the campus novel satire as an Asian American literary studies whodunnit, in which the murder victim might be your idea of yourself--no matter how you identify. I often held my breath until I laughed and I wouldn't dare compare it or Chou to anyone writing now. Wickedly funny and knowing, Chou's dagger wit is sure-eyed, intent on what feels like a decolonization of her protagonist, if not the reader, that just might set her free." --Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

"Disorientation is the funniest novel I've read all year . . . This uproarious tale of a young woman's quest to uncover the truth about the world's most famous Chinese American poet is packed full of sly truths about race, love, and life in general -- all of which you're going to miss, because you'll be laughing so hard."--Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger