A New York Times Editors' Choice
One of NPR's Best Books 2021
When her husband suddenly disappears, a young woman must uncover where he went—and who she might be without him—in this striking debut of immigration, identity, and marriage.
"[A]n excellent book that tackles a number of topics — misogyny, racism, love and estrangement — and does so beautifully. ...Chin proves masterful at examining family dynamics. ...Edge Case is a wonderful novel, smart but not showy, emotional but not sentimental. ...It would be a massive understatement to call Chin a writer to watch; she's fully formed, beyond talented, and — crucially — an author of deep compassion." — Michael Schaub, NPR Books
“Chin’s specificity and wonderfully drawn minor characters add depth and richness to a story that another writer might have washed out with the glaring light of moral clarity…What emerges is not only a subtly provocative depiction of the tech industry, and this country, as tilting ever more off-kilter; but also a realistic portrayal of a woman in crisis.” — Lauren Oyler, The New York Times Book Review
"What interests Ms. Chin—and what she so skillfully dramatizes—is rather the eternal conundrum of being a human among other humans…and, more specifically, of being an immigrant at the mercy of a volatile host…[Chin] expertly directs the shifting currents of emotion and of memory that sweep us along in this affecting novel."
Anna Mundow, The Wall Street Journal
“Where “Edge Case” shines brightest is its depiction of characters who live in a liminal state, never certain where home will be or where they truly belong. As in her 2018 story collection, “Though I Get Home” (inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem), Chin is interested in the idea of home as both a cherished place and a complicated destination. ... The result is a touching, introspective story about identity, belonging and the effects of long-term transience on both the heart and soul.”
Jung Yun, The Washington Post
“Chin writes about both the bright absurdities of modern tech-bro culture and the sharper stings of private heartache and displacement with bristling wit and vulnerability.”
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
“YZ Chin’s Edge Case is one of the first great novels to examine the grinding effect of U.S. anti-immigration policies during the Trump administration…Chin, the author of the story collection Though I Get Home, is superb at describing the tumult of a woman being psychologically knocked about like a pachinko ball. Every chapter bears witness to Edwina’s pain, befuddlement and sheer exhaustion, while also revealing her snarky sense of humor, resourcefulness, tenaciousness and capacity for love. Edge Case shows what can happen to ordinary people when they’re caught up in systems beyond their control.”
Arlene McKanic, BookPage
"Chin’s novel is littered with genuinely funny moments; Edwina’s voice is a chatty, engaging one that belies her depth. ... An endearingly offbeat story with particularly timely themes."
"Chin makes an impressive debut with this sharp take on faltering romance, the American dream, and self-realization...Edwina’s wry outlook and wrestling with thoughts about what it means to make it in America will resonate with readers. Those who enjoy the work of Charles Yu should take a look."
"Edge Case...is perfectly paced. ...[A] riveting and poignant tale, offering sharp insights into--and criticisms of--American culture and immigration policy, neatly packed in the story of one woman's transformational journey through solitude."
Kerry McHugh, Shelf Awareness
"YZ Chin (author of the superb 2018 short story collection Though I Get Home) captivates in her debut novel ... Chin tells her story with dark humor, heart, and unflinching honesty (and, full disclosure, one surprisingly nauseating scene) while exploring themes of intimacy, family, race, and identity."
Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed
"The story is intoxicating, but [Chin's] writing elevates it to another level. She hits on emotions so difficult to express on page with such ease."
"Edge Case is a beautifully subtle novel about precarity and dislocation. YZ Chin writes with wisdom, precision and humor, tracing the routes by which we become strangers to each other and ourselves.”
Katie Kitamura, author of Intimacies
“On the surface, YZ Chin’s debut novel is about a woman’s search for her missing husband, but her quest also speaks to so much else: what it means to belong to a new country and disentangle yourself from another, how relationships and memory change with time, what it means to be alone. Funny, smart and questioning, Edge Case is a glorious read.”
Tash Aw, author of We, the Survivors
“YZ Chin’s eerie and brilliant novel looks closely and tenderly at the margins of life for answers to pressing questions of love and self. Where do I belong? Who am I in the face of loss? What am I willing to do for my precarious place in this world? The result is a totally engaging and emotionally resonant story of one woman’s alienation, ambivalence, defiance, and humor in the face of turmoil—I won’t soon forget it and can’t wait to read what Chin writes next.”
Alexandra Chang, author of Days of Distraction
“Edge Case is a wry, sharply realistic portrait of a marriage in crisis; of an absurd immigration experience and scrawled social contract; of a hyper-intelligent person experimenting with her own tolerances, and her capacity to overcome loss. This is a dorky, funny, intimate, unusual novel of social realism and estrangement.”
Caoilinn Hughes, author of The Wild Laughter
“A quirky story of loss and limbo, Edge Case immerses us in the worries, hopes, and absurdities of life on a work visa in America. As a woman’s marriage disintegrates, YZ Chin examines her complicated, ambivalent quest for American citizenship and lays bare her indelible feelings of foreignness and unbelonging. This is a timely, intimate novel unlike any I've read.”
Chia-Chia Lin, author of The Unpassing
“The great tension of YZ Chin’s Edge Case is that it’s always pushing in two directions at once. It’s a domestic mystery wrapped with the international pressures of immigration. It features a narrator whose interior informs her surroundings (or worries that it’s happening the other way around). Even the engineering lingo that populates its characters everyday vocabulary reveal double meanings, in moments of irony, humor, or both. With Edge Case, Chin has written a wonderful debut that excavates how the U.S. oppresses its white-collar migrants, offering them stability that is dependent on marriage and the workplace, but rendered it in an intimate, human story that I flew through in two days.”
Kevin Nguyen, author of New Waves