The breathtaking debut of an important new voice—centered on a constellation of Korean American families
“To encounter these achingly truthful, beautiful stories of newcomer Americans is like gazing up at the starry vault of a perfect night sky; it’s immediately dazzling and impressive, and yet the closer and deeper you look, the more you appreciate the sheer countless brilliance.” —Chang-rae Lee, author of My Year Abroad
A long-married couple is forced to confront their friend's painful past when a church revival comes to a nearby town ... A woman in an arranged marriage struggles to connect with the son she hid from her husband for years ... A well-meaning sister unwittingly reunites an abuser with his victims.
Through an indelible array of lives, Yoon Choi explores where first and second generations either clash or find common ground, where meaning falls in the cracks between languages, where relationships bend under the weight of tenderness and disappointment, where displacement turns to heartbreak.
Skinship is suffused with a profound understanding of humanity and offers a searing look at who the people we love truly are.
Yoon Choi was born in Korea and moved to the U.S. at the age of three. She has an MA from Johns Hopkins and is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford. Her stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Narrative Magazine, and The Best American Short Stories 2018. She lives with her husband and four children in Anaheim, California.
Steph Cha is the author of Your House Will Pay, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the California Book Award, and the Juniper Song crime trilogy. She’s a critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she served as noir editor, and is the current series editor of the Best American Mystery & Suspense anthology. A native of the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Praise for Skinship:
“Think Alice Munro. Think Tobias Wolff. Think Lucia Berlin. Yoon Choi is a writer whose talents must be measured on the Richter Scale. The eight rich stories in this debut collection Skinship send tremors through our sensibilities, forcing us to reimagine the bonds that secure families, marriages, and generations. The rolling cadence of Choi’s prose—at turns lovely, wise, and funny—releases her characters’ voices to speak the truth of lives they’d likely never have otherwise been able to share. And what lives they are. Skinship charts the underlying power and deep humanity of those remanded to be bodega owners’ wives, arranged brides, hospice workers, and caretakers, all with inner realms that cascade forth under Choi’s careful gaze.” —Adam Johnson
“To encounter these achingly truthful, beautiful stories of newcomer Americans is like gazing up at the starry vault of a perfect night sky; it’s immediately dazzling and impressive, and yet the closer and deeper you look, the more you appreciate the sheer countless brilliance of Yoon Choi’s observations of love and devotion and sacrifice. Here is a writer who roots you and unsettles you and then roots you again in a new and revelatory axis.” —Chang-rae Lee
“A debut story collection that introduces us to a master of the form. Skinship, and the intricate, lovingly rendered characters in it, will stay with me forever. Yoon Choi has a fan for life.” —Nathan Englander
“Yoon Choi writes with astounding precision and grace. These stories are filled with unflinching moments, so raw yet so true to life. The American experience is encapsulated here and imbued with a rare freshness. I was enthralled not only by the families, parents, and children of Choi’s masterful creation but also by the courage and strength I found on the page.” —Weike Wang
“These are such fine and startlingly insightful stories. Ms. Choi performs the beautiful oldest task of writing: that of giving us people we believe in, and who earn our interest, and she does this without the slightest hint of the facile, or the flashy. Each story feels true. The troubles of these people remind us of our own, even as they also shine in that wonderful otherness which we rightly associate with, say it, literature.” —Richard Bausch
“Lovely stories, such a good writer, everything so delicately made but robust and unsentimental too.” —Tessa Hadley
“So poised, dazzling, and powerful is Skinship, it comes as a shock to realize it is not the work of a writer far advanced in age and fame, but the first appearance of a gorgeous new voice. Choi’s vision is unsparing, her emotional range prodigious, her curiosity about her characters’ lives tenderly infinite. Lovers of the short story, take note: in this volume you will meet the newest great story writer.” —Elizabeth Tallent