May-lee Chai ’89, Blair, August 2022
Following her award-winning story collection, Useful Phrases for Immigrants, May-lee Chai’s latest collection explores multicultural complexities through lenses of class, wealth, age, gender, and sexuality.
These stories transport the reader, variously: to rural China, where a city doctor harvests organs to fund a wedding and a future for his family; on a vacation to France, where a white mother and her biracial daughter cannot escape their fraught relationship; inside the unexpected romance of two Chinese-American women living abroad in China; and finally, to a future Chinese colony on Mars, where an aging working-class woman lands a job as a nanny.
Chai is the author of 11 books of fiction, nonfiction, and translation. Useful Phrases for Immigrants won the 2019 American Book Award. She teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at San Francisco State University. At Grinnell, Chai majored in French with a concentration in Chinese. She was editor-in-chief of the Scarlet & Black, co-founder of ASIA Club, and a Grinnell-Nanjing Fellow (1989–1990).