Victoria — Open Word: Readings and Ideas literary series continues with a reading and interview with Vancouver’s Kevin Chong. He will be reading from his new book Beauty Plus Pity at Open Space on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. followed by an interview by Lee Henderson. A second public reading is scheduled at the University of Victoria, Fine Arts Building Room 209 on Wednesday, November 7 at 3:30 p.m. Open Word: Readings and Ideas is co-sponsored with the Univeristy of Victoria’s Department of Writing.
Written with a winsome yet plaintive eye, Beauty Plus Pity is about a young man who’s forced to reckon with the past as he works through his lifelong ambivalence toward his hyphenated cultural identity, and between two parents holding intolerable secrets. In this tragicomic modern immigrant’s tale, Malcolm Kwan is a slacker twenty something Asian-Canadian living in Vancouver who is about to embark on a modeling career when his life is suddenly derailed by two nearsimultaneous events: the death of his filmmaker father, and the betrayal of his fiancée who has left him. Soon he meets Hadley, the half-sister he never knew existed ― the result of his father’s extramarital affair ― and as their tentative relationship grows, Malcolm is forced to confront his past relationships with women, including his own mother, an art teacher working through her grief as well as her resentment at her son befriending her husband’s daughter.