As a Korean American adoptee, reader, and writer, I’ve struggled to relate on a deeper level to the many novels I’ve read over the years. There has never seemed to be a protagonist who has struggled with the same issues that I faced and probably all adoptees face. It wasn’t that I was looking for one story with one character but that I was hungry for the orphan or the adoptee to not merely be a trope. I wanted a fuller realization of the character with his or her spurious background as an important detail, but a detail that didn’t solely define one’s humanity or potential. Matthew Salesses’s new novel The Hundred-Year Flood, perhaps, offers us the first Korean American adoptee protagonist in a novel. I am excited for Matthew’s new book, but I’m also excited at the potential it now affords us all when we read it.
From Little A Publishing: In the shadow of a looming flood that comes every one hundred years, Tee tries to convince himself that living in a new place will mean a new identity and a chance to shed the parallels between him and his adopted father. This beautiful and dreamlike story follows Tee, a twenty-two-year-old Korean-American, as he escapes to Prague in the wake of his uncle’s suicide and the aftermath of 9/11. His life intertwines with Pavel, a painter famous for revolution; Katka, his equally alluring wife; and Pavel's partner—a giant of a man with an American name. As the flood slowly makes its way into the old city, Tee contemplates his own place in life as both mixed and adopted and as an American in a strange land full of heroes, myths, and ghosts. In the tradition of Native Speaker and The Family Fang, the Good Men Project’s Matthew Salesses weaves together the tangled threads of identity, love, growing up, and relationships in his stunning first novel, The Hundred-Year Flood.
Bio: Matthew Salesses is the author of The Hundred-Year Flood. He was adopted from Korea and has written about race and adoption for NPR Code Switch, The New York Times Motherlode, Salon, and The Rumpus, among others. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Creative Writing & Literature at the University of Houston. His previous books include Different Racisms: On Stereotypes, the Individual, and Asian American Masculinity (essays) and I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying (a novel). Follow him @salesses.
Buy Matthew’s book here.