Which Side Are You On

Author: Lee Wong, Ryan

Publication Date:

October 2022

Original language and publisher

English | Catapult

Territories Handled

World excl. English North America


Literary Fiction

Which Side Are You On

Author: Lee Wong, Ryan


How can we live with integrity and pleasure in this world of police brutality and racism? An Asian American activist and his mother face this question in this powerful—and very funny—debut novel of politics and coming of age, youthful idealism and a mother’s wisdom, and what it means to live well in an unjust world.

Twenty-one-year-old Reed wants to drop out of college and devote himself to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Reed’s mother, alarmed at this turn, reluctantly tells him about her own activism. She recalls how she worked to quell Black-Korean violence in Los Angeles, all while they seek comfort in that city, from a Korean barbecue restaurant to a yoga class to a nightclub. Reed’s austere personal ethics rub against his mother’s sense of fun; his idealism against her pragmatism. The stories she tells challenge his understanding of who he is.

Inspired by his deep roots in activism, Ryan Lee Wong offers an extraordinary debut novel for readers of Anthony Veasna So, Rachel Kushner, and Michelle Zauner, a book that is as hilarious as it is profound, paying homage to the hard work of activism and a mother’s love, wit, and wisdom.