DISPATCHES FROM THE COLD
Winner of THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN Award for Literature
Literary & General
Leonard Chang is the creator of Allen Choice, a Korean-American security expert turned private eye who has so far appeared in three novels, Over the Shoulder (2001), Underkill (2003) and Fade to Clear (2009), a USA Today Summer Reading Pick and a finalist for the Shamus Award. His first two novels, The Fruit 'N Food and Dispatches from the Cold, garnered much praise for their deft handling of racial tension, thwarted dreams and existentialist angst. For The Fruit 'N Food, he won the Black Heron ...
What would you do if strange letters began appearing in your mail box? Read them? When the unnamed narrator of this novel opens misdirected letters, he enters the harsh, disturbing world of Farrel Gorden. Gorden, an assistant manager in a sporting goods store near New Hampshire, hates his new Korean- American boss, and is on the verge of losing control of his hatred. As we watch the narrator reconstruct the recent events in Gorden’s life, including an affair with his boss’ wife and the wrenching consequences that follow, the paths of these two disparate characters- letter reader and letter writer- converge violently as each intrudes in the life of the other. This is a story that blurs the distinction between the real and the imaginary, the violent and the mundane, and negotiates the exterior world and interior workings of a vengeful mind.
"Chang narrates his passionate, downbeat tale with naturalistic distance and an authentic, even microscopic grasp of the boring, dead-end world Farrel inhabits…Chang is an exceptionally talented writer…” —Kirkus Reviews “In his provocative second novel, Chang deftly varies a formula used by Hitchcock in REAR WINDOW: a man in a position of enforced idleness becomes obsessed with the activities of a total stranger…In clean and vernacular-accurate prose, Chang painstakingly evokes the working-class lives of both characters, as well as their ethnic prejudices and misunderstandings. The deliberately slow pace of the narrative accentuates the impact of the step-by-step account of Gorden’s descent into murderous rage, building to the narrator’s disastrous intervention. In the end, the traje...