The chosen and the beautiful

Nghi Vo

Book - 2021

"Immigrant. Socialite. Magician. Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society-she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She's also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. I...n all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how. Nghi Vo's debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice"--

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Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Bildungsromans
Published
New York : Tordotcom 2021.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
A Tom Doherty Associates book.
Physical Description
262 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781250784780
1250784786
Main Author
Nghi Vo (author)
Other Authors
F. Scott (Francis Scott) Fitzgerald, 1896-1940 (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Vo's (The Empress of Salt and Fortune, 2020) first full-length novel retells The Great Gatsby from the point of view of Jordan Baker, the supposedly jaded and hollow tennis pro on the sidelines of Fitzgerald's original novel. In Vo's version of the story, not only is 1920s New York full of magicians, demoniac wine, and infernal crime bosses, but Baker is now a Vietnamese orphan adopted into the wealthy Baker family in Louisville who takes lovers of every gender as she drifts through the social scene. The novel follows all of the beats of the original, the major difference being refocusing the story around Jordan's love of her relative freedom existing in the shadow worlds of the Jazz Age rather than Nick Carraway's detached and vaguely disapproving Midwestern outsider perspective. Vo remains an excellent stylist and her magically infused alternate history and her version of Baker are both interesting enough that at times readers may wish the narrative wasn't constrained by Fitzgerald's original plotting and characters. Recommended for fans of Vo's previous shorter work, or for readers of historical fantasy in general. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

DEBUT Jordan Baker is an example of 1920s privilege: she has money, an education, a talent for golf, and easy entry into the most glamorous parties of the decade. Yet in a world that prizes everything Jordan has, she's also scrutinized, for being a queer Vietnamese immigrant adopted as a child. The glittering world that Jordan inhabits is full of magical undertones: drinking demon's blood; infernal deals; secret desires. Jordan is drawn into relationships with Nick Carraway and Daisy Buchanan, who have ties to the mysterious, extravagant Jay Gatsby. Meanwhile, Jordan's own magic—bringing paper to life; seeing ghosts—will lead her on a journey of revelation and realization. The characters' emotional arcs are profound, the settings lavish and styled; Vo's prose not only conveys the excess but strips it away throughout the story. VERDICT Vo's first full-length novel weaves the plot of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby into a vivid tapestry of layered commentary on gender, race, and sexuality, set in a magical Jazz Age New York.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Vo's extraordinary full-length debut (after the novella When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain) draws readers into a fantastical reimagining of the world of The Great Gatsby. In Vo's version, magic is as regular as Jay Gatsby's soirees, prohibition bans covered demon blood as well as alcohol, and star golfer Jordan Baker can turn cut paper into enchantments. Jorden and Daisy Fay became friends when they were children. Now, Daisy is settled with Tom Buchanan while Jordan navigates New York City's social scene as an accepted outsider, kept at arm's length for her Vietnamese heritage. When Daisy sets Jordan up with her cousin, Nick Carraway, Jordan takes little notice of him until Jay Gatsby sets his eyes on Nick as well. The unnerving Gatsby asks Jordan to put in a good word for him with Nick, Daisy's reeling from Gatsby's reemergence in her life, and Jordan is developing unwelcome romantic affections of her own. Vo balances the increasingly entangled lives of Jordan and her friends with flashbacks to Jordan and Daisy's childhood and teen years. The plot unravels tantalizingly slowly, and Vo's immersive prose never ceases to captivate. The Gatsby-related details and hints of magic will keep readers spellbound from start to finish. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (June) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, Jordan Baker, queer and Asian, has the world of illusion, magic and mystery at her fingertips but the most important doors remain closed to her until she can figure out a way to open them. 75,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Immigrant. Socialite. Magician. Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society-she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She's also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how. Nghi Vo's debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Gatsby the way it should have been written—dark, dazzling, fantastical."—R. F. Kuang"Luxurious, thrilling, and sexy."—Adrienne CeltImmigrant.Socialite.Magician.Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.Nghi Vo’s debut novel reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

An Instant National Bestseller!An Indie Next Pick!A Most Anticipated in 2021 Pick for Oprah Magazine | USA Today | Buzzfeed | Greatist | BookPage | PopSugar | Bustle | The Nerd Daily | Goodreads | Literary Hub | Ms. Magazine | Library Journal | Culturess | Book Riot | Parade Magazine | Kirkus | The Week | Book Bub | OverDrive | The Portalist | Publishers WeeklyA Best of Summer Pick for TIME Magazine | CNN | Book Riot | The Daily Beast | Lambda Literary | The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Goodreads | Bustle | Veranda Magazine | The Week | Bookish | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Den of Geek | LGBTQ Reads | Pittsburgh City Paper | Bookstr | Tatler HKA Best of 2021 Pick for NPR“A vibrant and queer reinvention of F. Scott Fitzgerald's jazz age classic. . . . I was captivated from the first sentence.”—NPR“A sumptuous, decadent read.”—The New York Times“Vo has crafted a retelling that, in many ways, surpasses the original.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewImmigrant. Socialite. Magician.Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.Nghi Vo’s debut novel, The Chosen and the Beautiful, reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.