Yellowface: A Novel

Category: Book
By (author): Kuang, R. F.
Subject:  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Literary
  FICTION / Women
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: May 2023
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 336
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 1.09in
Our Price:
$ 37.00
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

What's the harm in a pseudonym? New York Times bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn't write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American-in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from R. F. Kuang in the vein of White Ivy and The Other Black Girl. 

Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena's a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn't even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.

So when June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena's just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.

So what if June edits Athena's novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song-complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn't this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That's what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.

But June can't get away from Athena's shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June's (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface takes on questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the persistent erasure of Asian-American voices and history by Western white society. R. F. Kuang's novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.

Review Quote*

"Kuang follows her award-winning Poppy War trilogy with an engaging fantasy about the magic of language. Her richly descriptive stand-alone novel about an ever-expanding, alternate-world empire powered by magically enhanced silver talismans scrutinizes linguistics, history, politics, and the social customs of Victorian-era Great Britain."  - Booklist (starred review) on Babel

"Kuang blends historical speculative fiction with dark academia to create a nuanced adventure that also serves as a critique of Western colonialism...The novel is also an atmospheric and complex narrative with compelling characters...Kuang is a refreshing and essential voice in fiction, and her latest will have wide appeal." - Library Journal on Babel

"Absolutely phenomenal. One of the most brilliant, razor-sharp books I've had the pleasure of reading that isn't just an alternative fantastical history, but an interrogative one; one that grabs colonial history and the Industrial Revolution, turns it over, and shakes it out."   - S.A. Chakraborty, bestselling author of The Empire of Gold, on Babel

"The true magic of Kuang's novel lies in its ability to be both rigorously academic and consistently welcoming to the reader, making translation on the page feel as enchanting and powerful as any effects it can achieve with the aid of silver."  - Oxford Review of Books on Babel

"A brilliant and often harrowing exploration of violence, etymology, colonialism, and the intersections that run between them. Babel is as profound as it is moving."  - Alexis Henderson, author of The Year of the Witching

"Bringing her complex Poppy War trilogy to a poignant conclusion, Kuang shines a searing light on the devastating price and valiant sacrifices that warfare requires of all involved." - Booklist (starred review) on The Burning God

"A dark and devastating conclusion that transcends its roots in historical fact to examine brutal truths." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on The Burning God

"An incredible end to this epic trilogy. Mixing historical parallels of Chinese history, the themes of war, politics, and colonialism are balanced with terrific, flawed characters and amazing worldbuilding." - Library Journal (starred review) on The Burning God

"Kuang's Poppy War series, the saga of a young shaman fighting to bring the old gods back to her homeland, comes to a striking close in this gritty finale."  - Publishers Weekly on The Burning God

"Her story's refreshing, shocking, and there's some sort of invisible phoenix fire god controlling everything. Behold the horizons of fantasy expand." - Wired on The Dragon Republic

"Kuang's descriptive storytelling reveals the grueling psychological and material cost of war on combatants and those they are supposed to protect. Fans of epic military fantasy will be eager for the next volume." - Booklist (starred review) on The Dragon Republic

"This stunning sequel to The Poppy War is an epic journey of vengeance, friendship, and power . . . Kuang has created a young woman torn by her connections to friends and family, searching for love and belonging, and given power beyond her imagining. Her story is unforgettable." - Library Journal (starred review) on The Dragon Republic

"The Dragon Republic is straight up incredible [...] It's big, bold, beautiful, and badass." - Fantasy Hive on The Dragon Republic

"A blistering, powerful epic of war and revenge that will captivate you to the bitter end." - Kameron Hurley, author of The Stars are Legion on The Poppy War

"A thrilling, action-packed fantasy of gods and mythology...The ambitious heroine's rise from poverty to ruthless military commander makes for a gripping read, and I eagerly await the next installment." - Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

"In The Poppy War, RF Kuang draws on history and myth to tell a relentlessly unforgiving story of war, vengeance, power and madness, with larger-than-life characters that evoke sympathy and rouse terror. Brace yourself." - Fonda Lee, award-winning author of The Green Bone Saga

"Debut novelist Kuang creates an ambitious fantasy reimagining of Asian history populated by martial artists, philosopher-generals, and gods [...] This is a strong and dramatic launch to Kuang's career." - Publishers Weekly on The Poppy War

"I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year [...] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang's] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin." - Booknest on The Poppy War

"A young woman's determination and drive to succeed and excel at any cost runs into the horrors of war, conflict and ancient, suppressed forces in R. F. Kuang's  excellent debut novel, The Poppy War." - The Skiffy and Fanty Show on The Poppy War

"If you have read and enjoyed George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, or Sabah Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes then you are likely to enjoy this." - Sammy's Shelf on The Poppy War

"This looks like a good match for readers of Red Rising." - Omnivoracious (10 Highly Anticipated New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books) on The Poppy War

"The narrative is an impactful, impressive symphony of words that grant life to this incredible morality tale. Setting the stage for an epic fantasy is an understandably enormous undertaking, but Kuang does an exceptional job of world and character building." - RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick!) on The Poppy War

"An original and engrossing tale of the coming of age of a talented young soldier amid the horrors of invasion and genocide." - Anna Stephens, author of Godblind on The Poppy War

"A powerful, emotional journey, compellingly written." - Adrian Tchaikovsky, award-winning author of The Children of Time on The Poppy War

"I can safely say that this will be the finest debut of 2018 and I'd be surprised if it isn't one of the top 3 books of the year full stop. Spectacular, masterclass, brilliant, awesome [...] Simply put, R.F. Kuang's "The Poppy War" is a towering achievement of modern fantasy." - Fantasy Book Review on The Poppy War

"[The Poppy War] feels entirely immersive and rich in a way that kind of sucks you in [...] It's a treasure trove." - Utopia State of Mind on The Poppy War

"The "year's best debut" buzz around this one was warranted; it really is that good." - B&N Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog on The Poppy War

"Battles. Bloodshed. Drugs. Amazing, amazing characters. Read it!" - Peng Shepherd, author of The Book of M on The Poppy War

"The book kicks arse, and I couldn't put it down. It's a cracking debut, and one I recommend without reservation." - Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews on The Poppy Wars

"The Poppy War was a fun, engrossing, journey to a world I wish I could visit and a school I wish I could attend. With its strong characters, interesting world building, and intriguing plot it is a great read that I would recommend to anyone." - The Quill to Live on The Poppy Wars

"A complex, sprawling, ambitious novel, part coming of age and part tragedy of power, that uses motifs and influences from the 20th century. It reminds me tonally of Lara Elena Donnelly's Amberlough and Joe Abercrombie's Half a King, [and] in setting of K. Arsenault Rivera's The Tiger's Daughter." - on The Poppy Wars

"The book starts as an epic bildungsroman, and just when you think it can't get any darker, it does [...] Kuang pulls from East Asian history, including the brutality of the Second Sino-Japanese war, to weave a wholly unique experience." - Washington Post on The Poppy Wars

"This novel has already rocketed up to the top of my list of favorite fantasy reads of all time. It was everything I wanted and more." - The BiblioSanctum on The Poppy Wars

"Well that was bloody good! R.F. Kuang's The Poppy War is thrilling, funny and dark. Highly recommended!"  - Zen Cho, author of Sorcerer to the Crown on The Poppy War

"The Poppy War is a masterful piece of fiction." -  S. Qiouyi Lu for the B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog on The Poppy War

"[The Poppy War is] strikingly grim military fantasy that summons readers into an East Asian–-inspired world of battles, opium, gods, and monsters. Fans of Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings will snap this one up." - Library Journal (starred review) on The Poppy War

"Kuang ambitiously begins a trilogy that doesn't shy away from the darkest sides of her characters, wrapped in a confectionery of high-fantasy pulp. [...] The future of Rin in this world may appear quite dark, but that of the series seems bright indeed." - New York Daily News on The Poppy War

"This isn't just another magical, fantasy world with artificially fabricated stakes. Rin's journey and the war against the Federation feel incredibly urgent and powerful [...] R.F. Kuang is one of the most exciting new authors I've had the privilege of reading." - The Roarbots on The Poppy Wars

"The best fantasy debut of 2018...This year's Potter." - Wired on The Poppy Wars

"A complex, challenging, and incredibly ambitious novel." - Vulture (The 10 Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2018) on The Poppy Wars

‘A spiky, snarky, shady, smart, sinister take on white privilege'  - Nikki May on YELLOWFACE

‘There's SO MUCH I recognised (with the odd full-body cringe) about the vagaries of publishing and the ego bin fire of being a writer and SO MUCH I learned about my own white privilege but above all it's a funny, engrossing read about what people do when they reckon they can get away with it'  - Erin Kelly on YELLOWFACE