Reviews tagging 'Xenophobia'

Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou

41 reviews

abbie_'s review against another edition

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dark emotional funny reflective medium-paced

5.0

Don’t you love it when you have high expectations for a book and not only are they met but exceeded?? Disorientation is without a doubt my favourite book of 2023. I usually read quite short books, so 400+ pages is a fair amount for me, but I could have read another 400 pages of these characters! This book is so perfectly paced, there’s not a single section that feels drawn out or rushed. The character development feels believable (and sometimes scary) even though I believe it’s classed as satire, and I loved Ingrid and Eunice!

It centres around Ingrid, a Taiwanese-American PhD student in her eighth year, who finds herself somehow studying a Chinese-American poet she initially had no interest in. When she uncovers something strange in the archive one day, she sets off a chain of events that nobody could have predicted, unleashing chaos at her university which unwittingly leads to the start of a thinly veiled white nationalist movement. Believe me, it’s a wild ride, both horrifying and hilarious, as Chou’s wit is unrelenting. 

Disorientation tackles everything from fetishisation, racism in academia, identity politics, interracial relationships, parent-child relationships, and everything slots into the story so seamlessly. Ingrid’s journey felt realistic in that she doesn’t unlearn all of her internal biases in one fell swoop - it’s halting and messy, she has a lot to learn and unlearn, and I feel like Chou portrays her development incredibly. She made me feel so many emotions for all these characters - disgust, rage, irritation, pride, the unbearable urge to punch Stephen in the mouth. Truly a rollercoaster, my jaw literally dropped several times throughout the book. 

Never boring, often shocking, almost always true to real life even with its exaggerations. Loved it so very much!!

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alexandrabelze's review against another edition

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funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

omfg i don’t even know where to start. very funny, super dramatic, and at times satirical. it was not AT ALL what i was expecting, but then again i didn’t read any type of summaries before starting it lmao. it didn’t have me hooked until the first major plot twist, but after that i was dying to see how it ended. kind of an anti-climatic ending, but sadly realistic. ingrid + eunice besties 4 ever <3 stephen is the bane of my existence. every time he spoke i wanted to rip my hair out. i WISH he knew when to shut up. 
the SCHOOL GIRL COSTUME??? oh my god i was gagged. nothing could’ve prepared me!!! i had to put the kindle DOWN and reflect.

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cozyarthur2022's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional funny tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

Disorientation is a perfect title for this book. I found it unputdownable, and unforgettable. I went to this almost knowing nothing about the plot, so I was really surprised about where it went and how the main character was. And that’s the thing, the book really is about feeling disoriented, surprised, confused about so many different aspects about this characters life, and you get to feel how it all affects the main character even when she doesn’t. One thing I understand about the less positive reviews is the “over the top” and therefore, perhaps, unrealistic aspects of the story, but once you understand it’s also a satire, and you put yourself in the characters shoes - what if this did happen? And, most importantly, why is this not so far removed from reality as one would wish? - in my opinion, you won’t want to put this book down.
I really appreciated also the main friendship in this book, I was always looking forward for those moments. 

All in all, I’d recommend this book for sure!

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tia_ta_mereads's review against another edition

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funny lighthearted mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5


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lilycollings's review against another edition

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challenging emotional funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

This was such a fun and clever story. I flew through it having stumbled across the last copy in a bookshop on my lunch break yesterday after having it on my tbr since it was released. It lived up to all my expectations and more. I haven't read a book in a very long time that has left me feeling completely content and fulfilled with where it ended but Disorientation did.

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sweetsouthwest's review against another edition

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adventurous funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0


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bookrokosmos's review against another edition

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challenging funny reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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alysereadsbooks's review against another edition

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challenging emotional funny mysterious reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

This book was unique and I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. It made me reflect on what it means to identify as an Asian person. Also found the exploration of academia and general disillusionment fun to read. 

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lily1304's review against another edition

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funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

I loved this - somehow this manages to be SO funny, even with a mostly humorless main character and a deep dive into American racism. I appreciate that the story raises a lot of questions about race without having  neat, cut and dry answers.

I also loved Ingrid as a main character - so adrift, and trying on different personalities and ideologies over the course of the story. I really grew to like her. I felt like she was oddly trapped in the 2000s, something about her made me stop and wonder whether the setting was the 2000s. I think that was intentional, and it added something to the story - I don't know how to phrase exactly what.

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olive_lol's review against another edition

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funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

This novel's satire lends itself to sharp social commentary as the story ramps up in intensity and scope. It does a great job of utilizing humor and illustrates authentic themes through absurd scenarios. I loved Ingrid's development and how heartfelt it was. Overall, this book is great for someone looking for a funny book with a lot to say.

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