Dear Cyborgs

Dear Cyborgs

Book - 2017
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On their lunch break In a small Midwestern town, two Asian American boys bond over their outcast status and a mutual love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternative or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes ponders modern society during their time off. Between black-ops missions and rescuing hostages, they swap stories of artistic malaise and muse on the seemingly inescapable grip of market economics. Gleefully toying with the conventions of the novel, Dear Cyborgs weaves together the story of a friendship's dissolution with a provocative and lively meditation on protest. Through a series of linked monologues, a surprising cast of characters explores narratives of resistance--protest art, eco-terrorists, Occupy squatters, pyromaniacal militants--and the extent to which any of these can truly withstand the pragmatic demands of contemporary capitalism. All the while, a mysterious cybernetic book of clairvoyance beckons, and trusted allies start to disappear. Playfully blending comic-book villains with cultural critiques, Dear Cyborgs is a fleet-footed literary exploration of power, friendship, and creativity. Ambitious and knowing, it braids together hard-boiled detective pulps, subversive philosophy, and Hollywood chase scenes, unfolding like the composites and revelations of a dream.
Publisher: New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 2017
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780374537111
0374537119
Branch Call Number: F LIM NVD
Characteristics: 163 pages ; 20 cm

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lostintheshelves
Sep 03, 2017

Most people will love or hate this book (acclaimed in many rave reviews as the first Occupy Wall Street novel); I read it in part out of curiosity to see which camp I would fall in. Lim refuses most novelistic conventions—so while the story begins and ends with the friendship of two Asian-American comic book lovers, most of the middle consists of conversations about art, capitalism, and protest among Frank Exit, a broke Korean-American Batman, and his superhero friends as they hang out in Thai restaurants and karaoke bars between adventures. It's deliberately confusing who is speaking in each first-person chapter, and Lim teases the reader to figure out the connections between them. The real protagonist is the question of whether protesting capitalism in our market-driven world is possible, worthy, futile, or all of the above. At its best—when riffing on gentrification in a hospital cafeteria, or Japanese-American Black Panther member/FBI informant Richard Aoki—the book reminded me of the essays of Rebecca Solnit. Ultimately I found the lack of narrative, plot, and resolution frustrating, but I'm glad to have read it and will keep pondering its themes. It sent me scrambling to lithub.com to read reviews and learn what others had thought.

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lostintheshelves
Sep 03, 2017

What was expected was a slightly modified coming-of-age novel that traded on my Korean-American identity. Something not too obviously an assimilation tale--yet also something not to much a deviation from that sellable idea, so that the marketplace of culture could easily absorb my story without being too discomfited. Even if no one had said this aloud, to me it was as clear as day that this was the assignment.

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