Third Place Books is pleased to welcome Cecily Wong—the Portland-based author of Diamond Head, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection—for a discussion on her new novel, Kaleidoscope. Wong will be joined in conversation by Seattle writer Lucy Tan, the author of What We Were Promised. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.
Copies of Kaleidoscope will be available for purchase at the store. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!
for this in-person event
A dazzling and heartfelt novel about two sisters caught in their parents’ ambition, the tragedy that brings it all crashing down, and the journey that follows.
Everybody’s heard of The Brightons.
From rags to riches, sleepy Oregon to haute New York, they are the biracial Chinese American family that built Kaleidoscope, a glittering, ‘global bohemian’ shopping empire sourcing luxury goods from around the world. Statuesque, design savant, and family pet—eldest daughter Morgan Brighton is most celebrated of all. Yet despite her favored status, both within the family and in the press, nobody loves her more than Riley. Smart and nervy Riley Brighton — whose existence is forever eclipsed by her older sister’s presence. When a catastrophic event dismantles the Brightons’ world, it is Riley who’s left with questions about her family that challenge her memory, identity, and loyalty. She sets off across the globe with an unlikely companion to seek truths about the people she thought she knew best —herself included.
Using the brightly colored, shifting mosaic patterns of a kaleidoscope as its guide, and told in arresting, addictive fragments, Kaleidoscope is at once a reckoning with one family’s flawed American Dream, and an examination of the precious bond between sisters. It reveals, too, the different kinds of love left to grow when tightly held stories are finally let go. At turns devastating and funny, warm and wise, sexy and transportive, Riley’s journey confronts the meaning of freedom and travel, youth and innocence, and what it looks like to belong, grieve, and love on one’s own terms.
“Sparkling with sharp observations and deeply wise in its insights, Kaleidoscope is a moving portrayal of the tangled knot of sisterhood and the dizzying spiral of grief. Cecily Wong’s dazzling second novel deftly explores the complex push-pull of family and ambition, and the ways we learn to define ourselves in—and out of—our loved ones’ orbits.”
—Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere
“Wong’s insightful and compelling novel follows two sisters in a moving and complex look at ambition and success.”
“Kaleidoscope is an ode to the fierce and complicated bond between sisters, to unexpected love, to the pleasures of travel and food and unclaimed afternoons. It traces the way loss can change the shape of a life, honoring the experience of profound grief while, miraculously, reminding us of the beauty to be found in surviving. Intricate, gorgeously written, deeply moving -- I loved this book.”
—Julie Buntin, author of Marlena
"Cecily Wong's voice is assured and so very alive in Kaleidoscope, a transportive and compulsively readable novel exploring loss and longing, sisterhood and survival, and the complex relationships that both mystify and define us. Fierce, sensitive, and beautifully crafted, I didn't want this book to end."
—Nicole Chung, author of All You Can Ever Know
Cecily Wong is the author of the novel Diamond Head, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, the recipient of an Elle Readers' Prize, and voted a best debut of the Brooklyn Book Festival. She is also the co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, Self Magazine, Real Simple, and elsewhere.(Photo credit: Heath Hawksford)
Lucy Tan is the author of the novel What We Were Promised, which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and named a Best Book of 2018 by The Washington Post and Refinery 29. Though raised in the suburbs of New Jersey, Lucy has spent most of her adult life in New York City and Shanghai. Her stories explore these and other spaces, with special focus on characters who have a shifting sense of what they call "home." Lucy holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was winner of the August Derleth Prize. A recipient of support from Kundiman, NY State Summer Writers Institute, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Lucy has published in journals such as Asia Literary Review, McSweeney's and Ploughshares, where she was fiction winner of the 2015 Emerging Writer's Contest. She currently lives and writes in Seattle.
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