Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society - she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the...Read More
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society - she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She's also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.
But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
Nghi Vo's debut novel, The Chosen and the Beautiful, reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.
Nghi Vo is the author of the acclaimed novellas When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, a Hugo Award and Ignyte Award finalist and the winner of the Crawford Award. Born in Illinois, she now lives on the shores of Lake Michigan. She believes in the ritual of lipstick, the power of stories, and the right to change your mind. The Chosen and the Beautiful is her debut novel.
"I love it with the passion of a thousand burning hearts... Vo's audacious amendments shift the register of " The Great Gatsby," creating a story that galvanizes Fitzgerald's classic and leaves a new one vibrating alongside... from the old bones of an American classic, Vo has conjured up something magically alive." - The Washington Post
"This is a wholly enthralling vision of the American Dream as observed and experienced by one suspended in a liminal place -- accepted, but not really a part of the whole; apart, but not quite separate. Vo gives us a dreamy, sharply-drawn glamour; a vibrant, penetrating exploration of character. The Chosen and the Beautiful is exactly enough -- but why not indulge with a reread? And why not raise a glass to Nghi Vo, whose name on the spine of a book seems to mean that whatever the pages within hold will be superlative?" - NPR
"Vo has crafted a retelling that, in many ways, surpasses the original, adding logic and depth to characters' motivations while still--uncannily--unspooling the familiar story. Astonishingly crafted, with luscious prose and appeal for both fans of the original and those who always felt The Great Gatsby missed the mark." - Kirkus Reviews
"Extraordinary. . . Vo's immersive prose never ceases to captivate. The Gatsby-related details and hints of magic will keep readers spellbound from start to finish." - Publishers Weekly
"An utterly captivating series of speakeasies, back-seat trysts, parties both grand and intimate and romances both magical and mundane. . . . Vo is a remarkable writer whose talent for reviving Fitzgerald's style of prose is reminiscent of Susanna Clarke channeling Jane Austen in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. But it is Vo's additions to Gatsby's original plot that truly shine. . . . [She] has transformed The Great Gatsby utterly." - BookPage
"The Chosen and the Beautiful finds Jordan fighting for her place in this Gatsby-adjacent world as an outsider, a plight that Vo illuminates in heartbreaking specificity." - TIME Magazine
"Vo's resuscitation of Gatsby suggests comparisons with Jean Rhys's celebrated Wide Sargasso Sea. . . [both] brilliantly elevate less-central characters, adding depth and gravitas to women underdeveloped, overlooked. . . . Vo creates an extraordinary multi-layered literary experience that both enriches and eclipses the overexposed original." - Shelf Awareness
"Nghi Vo has written us the adaptation of The Great Gatsby that we deserve: a sparkling novel of excess and over-indulgence told from Jordan Baker's point of view." - Book Riot
"Turns Fitzgerald's American classic on its head to present a world recognizable in outline, but brought to new life in imaginative detail. The Chosen and the Beautiful is magical, quite literally. In this Jazz Age New York, ghosts haunt mansion corridors, flappers drink special elixirs that make them float, and members of the elite have obtained their fame and fortune by selling their souls to demons." - The Daily Beast