Virago has bought the “breathtaking” debut by Chia-Chia Lin about a grieving Taiwanese family living in Alaska.
Editorial director Ailah Ahmed secured UK and Commonwealth rights to The Unpassing by from Devon Mazzone at FSG. Virago Press has released an e-book and will publish a print edition in January 2020.
Shortlisted in the Centre for Fiction’s First Novel Award and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Pick, the novel is set in Anchorage and follows an immigrant family of six. Its synopsis goes on: “When ten-year-old Gavin contracts meningitis, he falls into a deep, nearly fatal coma. He wakes a week later to learn that his younger sister, Ruby, was infected too and did not survive. Routine eventually takes over for the grieving family until their father, guilt-ridden over his daughter’s death, is sued over an improperly installed water well that gravely harms a little boy, and the chaos that follows unearths what really happened to Ruby.”
Lin, who lives in northern California, graduated with an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received the Henfield Prize. Her short stories and essays have appeared in the Paris Review, NewYorker.com, New York Times and more.
Ahmed said: “The Unpassing contains some of the most gorgeous writing I have ever come across. Dream-like, otherworldly, packed with emotional charge, this story of a family in grief and chaos just grabbed me and refused to let go. Chia-Chia Lin is so talented – she is already one of Virago’s literary stars.”
Yaa Gyasi said: “The Unpassing is a breathtaking novel, full of characters as strong and as wild as the Alaskan landscape they inhabit. Sentence after gorgeous sentence, I was pulled into their eerie and beautiful world. Chia-Chia Lin is a remarkable writer.”