Yellowface: Literary thriller with some deep bookish internet lore | Summary and Q&A

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May 19, 2023
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ThePoptimist
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Yellowface: Literary thriller with some deep bookish internet lore

TL;DR

"Yellowface is a thought-provoking novel that exposes the dark side of the publishing industry and explores themes of cultural appropriation and racial identity."

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the central conflict in "Yellowface"?

The central conflict revolves around June's decision to pass off Athena's unpublished manuscript as her own and the ethical implications of her actions.

Q: How does "Yellowface" critique the publishing industry?

The novel highlights the exploitative nature of the industry, including the pressure to conform to specific narratives, the prevalence of cultural appropriation, and the impact of online discourse on an author's reputation.

Q: How does "Yellowface" explore the themes of racial identity and cultural appropriation?

Through June's transformation into Juniper Song, the novel examines the complexities of ethnic identity and raises questions about the commodification of diverse voices within the publishing industry.

Q: How does "Yellowface" engage with bookish internet culture?

The novel references various online platforms and communities, providing Easter eggs and callbacks for readers immersed in bookish internet lore, while still allowing non-bookish readers to grasp the overarching themes.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • "Yellowface" is a book that revolves around June Haywood and Athena Liu, two aspiring writers with divergent fortunes in the publishing industry.

  • After Athena's sudden death, June discovers Athena's unpublished manuscript, which she submits as her own and achieves critical acclaim and bestseller status.

  • The novel sheds light on bookish consumerism, the struggles authors face, and the controversies surrounding cultural appropriation and ethnic identity.

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