- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (March 20 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 031646399X
- ISBN-13: 978-0316463997
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.8 x 21.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 544 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Astonishing Color of After Hardcover – Mar 20 2018
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"Emily X.R. Pan's brilliantly crafted, harrowing first novel portrays the vast spectrum of love and grief with heart-wrenching beauty and candor. This is a very special book."―John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down
"Magic and mourning, love and loss, secrets kept and secrets revealed all illuminate Emily X.R. Pan's inventive and heart-wrenching debut."―Gayle Forman, bestselling author of If I Stay and I Was Here
"Emily X.R. Pan utterly transported me to a world reminiscent of Isabel Allende. Haunting at every turn, this is a glorious debut."― Renée Ahdieh, bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn
"An extraordinary debut from a fiercely talented writer."― Nova Ren Suma, bestselling author of The Walls Around Us
"This beautiful, magical journey through grief made my heart take flight."― Holly Black, bestselling author of The Cruel Prince and The Darkest Part of the Forest
"The Astonishing Color of After works a delicate magic. Its portrayal of grief is deeply felt, and so too is its deliciously tricky romance. I loved this book."― Marie Rutkoski, bestselling author of The Winner's Curse
"My heart has never been more pleasantly devastated. A raw and brilliant debut."― Roshani Chokshi, bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
"In this dazzling debut, author Emily X.R. Pan has created a spellbinding narrative about love, family, and what it means to grieve."―Bustle
* "Dynamic, brave Leigh emerges vividly in Pan's deft hand, and her enthralling journey through her grief glows with stunning warmth, strength, and resilience."―Booklist, starred review
* "Pan's emotionally charged debut is a compelling exploration of grief and the insidiousness of depression."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
About the Author
Emily X.R. Pan currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was originally born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. She received her MFA in fiction from the NYU Creative Writing Program, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Bodega Magazine, and a 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi. The Astonishing Color of After is her first novel. Visit Emily online at exrpan.com, and find her on Twitter and Instagram:@exrpan.
From the Publisher
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
What I liked: This was a great debut by a very promising author and the premise was intriguing to say the least. I stayed up until 1am reading it and finished it the next day, and will be loaning my copy to a couple of friends and family members. I thought the writing was overall strong and clear and engaging. The portrayal of depression and suicide and the stigma that surrounds mental health, especially in Asian-American families, is realistic. I am also a sucker for magical realism.
What I am torn on: Eastern mythicism is kind of the backbone of this novel, which is not something I generally love because this is a trope that has been done to death by orientalist authors like Amy Tan, and can often contribute to building an unhealthy exploitative aura of fabricated mystery around people from Asia, painting them as mysterious, superstitious 'others' rather than highlighting our similarities and bridging cultural divides. However, I will say that pretty much all of the religious and cultural elements mentioned in this novel are portrayed accurately, and the perspective of the protagonist does read to be from someone who is genuinely trying to understand the local culture.
What I didn't like: The main character's best friend/love interest, Axel, is a boring and uncompelling character; he is basically a male version of her. Yet he is featured prominently in the novel and there is no way to escape him because even when he is not present, her streams of consciousness keep turning to him. The dialogue in general was stilted and unrealistic, and not reflective of how teenagers actually speak. (The characters mostly speak in cliched language reminiscent of the 90s, along the lines of: "Ugh, mo-om!" I sighed, rolling my eyes. "You're being <i>totally</i> annoying!")
Leigh is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever met, and I loved it so much. A large part of how Leigh communicates her feelings and even describes them to herself is through color. In bursts of great rainbows are we able to see the world in her eyes, and I loved the diverse nature of her perspective. Going back to your roots is hard when you don’t know much about them. There is so much she wants to learn, and she doesn’t know where to start with all of the covered up family history.
One of the best parts of the book was the emotion. It was raw and painful with no holding back, and it was eloquently done. I could feel the emotion that Pan bled into the pages with each word. It was something that I can’t stop thinking about. With Leigh’s colors, emotions became as visually vibrant as they were abstractly. Leigh’s grief is what compels her to go to Taiwan. It is what brings her forward in her personal journey.
The setting was gorgeous. I felt like I was wandering the Taiwanese markets with Leigh and her grandparents. I loved the detail and the dissonance that Leigh feels while being in Taiwan was something that spoke to me. Living as an Asian-American, there are a lot of expectations on both sides, both cultures. When you fail to meet one of them, there is a certain feeling of otherness as you try to straddle both sides but come short. I feel like this was well captured throughout the story.
Art is another big aspect in this book for Leigh. It’s a source of healing and expression for her. I love that she persists to pursue her passion despite the tension between herself and her father. It shows that she is developing her beliefs and boundaries. There are things she’s willing to sacrifice and things she isn’t.
This personal journey was thrilling and magical to be part of. I really hope you take part in it when it releases this March!