Elaine Hsieh Chou’s Accidental Satirical Novel

March 17, 2022

Elaine Hsieh Chou discussed her debut novel, Disorientation, with Nicole Zhu, elaborating on how she used humor and satire to tackle painful subjects. “I think on the writer’s end, you can make something that would be really painful less painful,” she says. “I think that’s what happened with me because I didn’t intend to write a satire actually. When I was planning the novel in my head, this was going to be somber. When I started writing it, it was a third person snarky voice. They sounded too opinionated. I realized I had so much anger and the only productive way that anger could come out was through satire. I think if I tried to write it straight, it would have been way too painful for me and I probably wouldn’t have wanted to face the page.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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