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Though I Get Home

Louise Meriwether First Book Prize Winner


Asian/Pacific American Award For Literature Honor Title

In these interconnected stories, characters navigate fate via deft sleights of hand: a grandfather gambles on the monsoon rains, a consort finds herself a new assignment, and a religious man struggles to keep his demons at bay. Central to the book is Isabella Sin, a small-town girl—and frustrated writer—transformed into a prisoner of conscience in Malaysia’s most notorious detention camp.


"Following protagonist Isabella, readers are prompted to wonder: What would you do if you went to your first political rally, then returned home to discover you'd become an internet sensation and government officials were already banging down your door to take you to prison?" (from BUST, April/May 2018)

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YZ Chin deter

"A haunting, surprising, and rebellious collection that contains multitudes."

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

"Fourteen short stories intertwine in Chin’s beautiful, visceral collection. ... [T]ogether, they powerfully call into question what it means to be free."

"Poignant and striking, each story in YZ Chin’s elegant debut will change you in some small way.”

Jennifer Baumgardner

author of Look Both Ways

"Do yourself a favor and let Y.Z. Chin take you on a journey through Malaysia. Though I Get Home, a collection of linked stories about a girl held prisoner in a detention camp, is highly rewarding."

"YZ Chin's linked story collection, Though I Get Home, while geographically set in Malaysia, is a universal tale of just how connected we all are. [...] How the small becomes big, and the big falls apart, are recurring themes in these quick chapters. If you like people watching, you'll love how deeply developed, relatable, and approachable Chin's characters are. She creates a world to dive into and get lost in, but then kindly takes your hand and leads you right back home."

“YZ Chin’s tender and furious debut, Though I Get Home, is a long gaze into a black sky; her characters are defiant enough to find light.”

Catherine Lacey

author of The Answers

"YZ Chin's debut short story collection Though I Get Home will make you feel as if you're in Malaysia, with Chin's atmospheric writing and rich descriptions of the country and its culture. [...] Not only is the writing fascinating and immersive, but also this collection will bring Malaysia's social and political scenes to life in your mind."

“Sharp as an old wound that never heals, these linked stories remind us afresh of what it takes to survive in a brutal, racially fraught society.”

Shirley Geok-lin Lim

author of Among the White Moon Faces

"Riveting debut."

“Poignant, like an arrow piercing one’s heart.”

Louise Meriwether

author of Daddy Was a Number Runner

“No doubt many readers will describe YZ Chin’s Though I Get Home as news from another world—with much to teach us about what may be unfamiliar to us. But the true gift of Chin’s collection is the way it reminds us that much of what may initially seem unfamiliar is actually shared. Don’t we all want to know who we are and what we are capable of? Don’t we all want to matter, to be seen, to be heard? Aren’t we all capable of desperate measures to achieve those desires? So by all means read YZ Chin’s book to expand your understanding of the world, but don’t be surprised when along the way you discover more about yourself than you bargained for.”

Karen Shepard

author of Kiss Me Someone

“YZ’s skilled weavings of poetic language and unwavering tenderness render a moving portrait of characters caught up in changing, challenging circumstances, and their cemented wills and steadfast grit become hallmarks in the power of storytelling, and the power of movement.”

Lis P. Sipin-Gabon

editor in chief, TAYO Literary Magazine.

"Written in a style which is sensitive to both the brutality of oppression and the lyricism of art that seeks to transcend social conditions, these stories offer an uncanny perspective into the faultlines of Malaysian society while escaping the labels of realism and allegory."

"Here are ordinary people in all their oddities, trying to make sense of and make decisions in a world that is changing on many dimensions. They are not glamorous, the picture painted is not flattering, and in this there is something fresh and refreshing about Chin’s writing."

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