A stunning debut pioneering in its accurate portrayal of a first generation Chinese immigrant family (refreshingly free of stereotypes) and the pressure of the expectations, both societal and familial, forced upon them in a contradiction of identity. Within the first page, I was drawn to Fu's lyrical writing and vibrant characters that gradually intertwined with quiet brilliance and wit.
Fu explores the debacle of what life is when constricted to a suffocating outlook of self-denial - what are we willing to sacrifice and suffer though in order for a few sparing moments of authenticity and the happiness it brings? Is complacency all we can accept when faced with overwhelming fear?
All in all, an essential and engrossing read from an author whose further works I will be keeping an eye out for.
— From Avery
Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, Winner
2015 PEN/ Hemingway Award, Finalist
Lambda Literary Award, Finalist
Longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection for Spring 2014
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
Shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
" A] sharply written debut...A coming-of-age tale for our time." Seattle Times
At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, powerful king. To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father's dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents home. Though his father crowned him powerful king, Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut. Sensitively wrought . . . For Today I Am a Boy is as much about the construction of self as the consequences of its unwitting destruction and what happens when its acceptance seems as foreign as another country. New York Times Book Review
Subtle and controlled, with flashes of humor and warmth. Slate
Keeps you reading. Told in snatches of memory that hurt so much they have the ring of truth. Bust magazine