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The Collective - review - Don Lee

Posted on

ART MEETS RACE This novel explores the relationship between ethnicity and art, as well as the meaning of friendship

The Collective

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Don Lee
genre:
Fiction

We gave it an A-

The passionate and infuriating young artists at the center of Lee’s third novel, The Collective, spend an inordinate amount of time trying to define themselves. When they meet at Macalester College, writers Joshua Yoon and Eric Cho and painter Jessica Tsai have a better idea of what they’re not: computer nerds, geishas, or, God forbid, Long Duk Dong. After graduation, the three friends form the Asian American Artists Collective (3AC), largely the work of Joshua, the brilliant and tortured radical of the group. Over the years, the 3AC battles infighting, censorship, and the brand of casual, can’t-you-take-a-joke racism so often directed at Asian-Americans. Yes, Lee comes with an agenda ā€” an important one ā€” about ethnicity and art, but he also delivers a heartbreaking, sexy, and frequently funny story about fractured friendships. A-