Good Americans

The Human Tragedy Volume 1

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
369 Pages
Reviewed on 07/06/2020
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Author Biography

Tejas Desai is an American novelist of Indian descent. He is the author of the bestselling international crime epic The Brotherhood Chronicle (2018-2020) and the acclaimed Good Americans (2013) which Kirkus Reviews called "a solid collection of rare caliber" that "speaks volumes about the human condition and modern life in America." He is the founder of The New Wei literary movement, which he has written about in HuffPost, Neworld Review, Publishing Perspectives and other publications, and he has been featured in several publications including Thrive Global, Buzzfeed, The New York Journal, LA Post-Examiner, The London Post, NYK Daily and many others. It has been written, among other things, that "in the world of literature, Desai has become a superhero, delivering readers the ride of their lifetime." He was born, lives and writes in New York City, where he works as a Supervising Librarian for Queens Public Library.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Louise Hurrell for Readers' Favorite

Good Americans by Tejas Desai is a collection of short stories, mostly dealing with experiences of people of color in the United States. Right off the bat, this collection won't be for everyone. However, as a whole, the collection works well. Having that core theme of immigration means the stories flow into each other nicely. The ones that stood out were 'The Apprentice' and 'The Mountain'. 'The Apprentice' was wonderfully constructed; our narrator is a very engaging character who you're happy to go along with and the storyline builds up to a satisfying conclusion. It isn't necessarily a happy ending – none of the stories have that – but it is a powerful one. 'The Mountain' is a very bittersweet story but at the heart of it is the friendship between Peter and Nilesh. They both contemplate their futures and how their expectations of it have been altered or thwarted entirely. Watching them contemplate their struggles whilst helping one another was very endearing, and I think would resonate with anyone who has felt anxious about their future.

Yet, as with all short story collections, some stories are weaker than others and Good Americans is no exception. As mention beforehand, Good Americans won't be for everyone. There are stories such as 'Dhan's Debut' which will split opinion (I liked it due to that bizarre plot twist) and the themes and language used throughout will alienate some readers. But the collection does have some solid storytelling and is incredibly thought-provoking. The blurb compares it to the works of Mark Twain and William Faulkner, but a few of the stories reminded me of Ottessa Moshfegh's writing. It is a very provocative, grimy, hard-hitting collection, and one that will certainly divide readers.