Songs on Endless Repeat, by Anthony Veasna So
By the New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Afterparties comes a collection like none other: sharply funny, emotionally expansive essays and linked short fiction exploring family, queer desire, pop culture, and race
The late Anthony Veasna So’s debut story collection, Afterparties, was a landmark publication, hailed as a “bittersweet triumph for a fresh voice silenced too soon” (Fresh Air). And he was equally known for his comic, soulful essays, published in n+1, The New Yorker, and The Millions.
Songs on Endless Repeat gathers those essays together, along with previously unpublished fiction. Written with razor-sharp wit and an unflinching eye, the essays examine his youth in California, the lives of his refugee parents, his intimate friendships, loss, pop culture, and more. And in linked fiction following three Cambodian American cousins who stand to inherit their late aunt’s illegitimate loan-sharking business, So explores community, grief, and longing with inimitable humor and depth.
Following “one of the most exciting contributions to Asian American literature in recent years” (Vulture), Songs on Endless Repeat is an astonishing final expression by a writer of “extraordinary achievement and immense promise” (The New Yorker).
Praise for Songs on Endless Repeat
“This posthumous collection of stories and essays affirms [So’s] versatility, secures his legacy, and bittersweetly reminds us of what could have been.” —The Millions
“Anthony Veasna So’s talent for evoking the anxieties, longings, and memories of diasporic Cambodian Americans—on voluptuous display in his posthumously published short story collection Afterparties—is put to vivid use in this new collection of delicately hinged essays that address everything from ‘deep reality TV’ to So’s stint as an art student.” —Boston Globe
“It seems impossible to read these excerpts without wishing for more—from these characters, from this narrative, for this author. . . . Another posthumous publication from a writer who was only just discovering his brilliance.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Before his death in 2020 at 28, Cambodian American writer So was poised for greatness on a number of fronts: He was an irreverent writer about immigrant enclaves, queer life and the Bay Area’s nether reaches. [Songs on Endless Repeat] . . . demonstrate[s] he was also a stellar cultural critic in the making.” —Los Angeles Times
“So’s essays resonate with vulnerable eloquence, but his potency lies in storytelling, effortlessly creating immersive worlds animated by familiar, vital characters, their vibrancy further magnifying the poignant loss of what could have been.” —Booklist
“So’s distinctive voice blends mordant cultural criticism with a striking combination of humor, compassion, and insight. This is a bittersweet testament to an astounding talent.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)