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Fiction Asian American

Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality


by (author) Lindsay Wong

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Feb 2023
Asian American, Short Stories (single author), Horror
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2023
    List Price

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From the bestselling, Canada Reads-shortlisted author of The Woo-Woo comes a wild, darkly hilarious, and poignant collection of immigrant horror stories. They’ll haunt and consume you—in strange and unsettling ways.

Living forever isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Hearts can still break, looks can still fade, and money still matters, even in eternity. The ghosts, zombies, and demons in this collection are all shockingly human, and they’re ready to spill their guts. Vanity, love, and tragedy are all candidly explored as the unfulfilled desires of the dead are echoed in the lives of modern-day immigrants. Story-by-story, the line between ghost and human, life and death, becomes increasingly blurred.

There’s a courtesan from 17th century China who, try as she might, just can’t manage to die. Grandmama Wu, who returns from the dead to protect her grandchildren from bullies. Not to mention an Internet-order bride who inadvertently brings the apocalypse to Nebraska City.

From Shanghai to Vancouver, the women in this collection haunt and are haunted—by first loves, troublesome family members, and traumatic memories. Intertwining horror, the supernatural, and mythology, Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality riotously critiques contemporary life and fearlessly illuminates the ways in which the past can devour us. A collection about transformation and what makes us human, it solidifies Lindsay Wong as one of the most vital and electrifying voices in Canadian literature today.

About the author

Lindsay Wong is the author of the memoir The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family, finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust of Canada Prize for Nonfiction. She holds a BFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and an MFA in literary non-fiction from Columbia University in New York. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in No Tokens, The Fiddlehead, Ricepaper, and Apogee Journal. She is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including from The Studios of Key West, Caldera Arts, and the Historic Joy Kogawa House. She lives in Vancouver.

Lindsay Wong's profile page

Editorial Reviews

One of
CBC’s “30 highly anticipated Canadian titles coming this year”
Chatelaine’s “9 New Books To Read This Winter”
Winnipeg Free Press’s “15 books to watch for in the first half of 2023”

"From a hair-chomping grandma ghost to nine-tail fox demons who snack on frat boys, the women of Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality are moody, sharp-tongued, and subversive. With humour and mischief, Lindsay Wong spins horrifying tales across continents and centuries. These stories slither through uncanny worlds and dredge up deep feelings of alienation, longing, and shame. Eccentric and unforgettable." --Pik-Shuen Fung, author of Ghost Forest

"The stories in Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality will make you laugh, cry, cringe, and gasp. Here, Lindsay Wong, has created an absurd symphony of tragedy and joy that leads Asian Canadian writing into uncharted and new, incredible, directions. The horrible is hilarious, the tragic is titillating, the morbid is mirthful. In these stories you will find beauty, horror, pleasure, and play." --Jenny Heijun Wills, author of Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related.
"Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality is a truly original collection of short stories, a book that brims over with otherworldly creatures, disaster, humour, and the unassailable bonds of familial love and hate. Lindsay Wong asks us to accompany her characters as they fight, dream, and survive in worlds that are on the verge of collapsing. It’s a wild ride and I loved every second of it."
Jen Sookfong Lee, author of Superfan and The Conjoined
"Fans of the black humour of Lindsay Wong's debut memoir The Woo-Woo can celebrate. This is a dark, hilarious and utterly brilliant collection that sees Wong unleashing her macabre imagination. Her doomed characters reflect the kaleidoscope of immigrant experiences; the stories skewer "crazy rich Asian" stereotypes and deliver unique insights on intergenerational trauma and culture clash. A must-read!" --Joanna Chiu, author of China Unbound, winner of the Writers' Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

"In this exhilarating collection, characters seek exuberance in hardship; they struggle to make the most of life, death, and everything in between. Wong writes against Asian immigrant stereotypes with a singular voice, seemingly freewheeling and maximalist but always in tight, expert control. Utterly unforgettable!" --YZ Chin, author of Edge Case

“Tell Me Pleasant Things About Immortality is an engrossing, entertaining, and haunting feat. Lindsay Wong expertly braids fable and nightmare into the story arc, oscillating between shocking and twisted, and heartfelt and humorous. Family drama quickly turns to revenge and gore, as characters morph and grow to surprising ends. Packed with curses, ghosts, and death, this collection captures an unease rarely explored, yet certain to be richly valued by readers.” --Derek Mascarenhas, Author of Coconut Dreams

“Drenched in morbidly dark humour, this collection of extremely entertaining immigrant horror stories reflects on class, death and family trauma.” The Globe and Mail

“[A] haunting and darkly comic collection peopled by unforgettable characters.” Chatelaine

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