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Discussion Guide

Afterparties: Stories

By Anthony Veasna So

A high school badminton coach and failing grocery store owner tries to relive his glory days by beating a rising star teenage player. Two drunken brothers attend a wedding afterparty and hatch a plan to expose their shady uncle’s snubbing of the bride and groom. A queer love affair sparks between an older tech entrepreneur trying to launch a “safe space” app and a disillusioned young teacher obsessed with Moby-Dick. And in the sweeping final story, a nine-year-old child learns that his mother survived a racist school shooter.

 

The stories in Afterparties, “powered by So’s skill with the telling detail, are like beams of wry, affectionate light, falling from different directions on a complicated, struggling, beloved American community” (George Saunders).

This discussion guide was written and contributed by Nancy Brown.

Discussion Questions

Use these discussion questions to guide your next book club meeting.

Do you think So’s use of dry-wit humor to tackle some really tough topics make these stories more accessible and therefore more impactful?
Do these stories offer a different or new perspective on the immigrant experience? What stuck out to you?
What did you think about So’s take on the generational divide among the Cambodian-American community in central California? Do you think their differences are mostly marked by genocide or is it something more perrenial that exists across all multi-generational communites?