Book Description

"Heartbreaking, sexy, and frequently funny."
—Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly

Winner of the 2013 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature from the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association.

Hilarity, heartbreak, observations of human nature as clear and sharp as his prose style—these have long been hallmarks of the critically acclaimed fiction of Don Lee. But never before has he been as funny, or as tragic, or as revealing as in The Collective.

Joshua Yoon seems larger than life to his classmates at Macalester College, especially to those who will become his closest friends, narrator Eric Cho and the gorgeous Jessica Tsai. Bawdy, brainy, generous, and manipulative, he rallies them to stand up for themselves as Asian Americans, as nonconformists, as artists meant to break all the rules in the pursuit of truth and perfection. Little do they know the effect he will have on the rest of their lives.

Years later, the three friends reunite in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Joshua once again binds them together by forming a group called the 3AC, the Asian American Artists Collective. As the collective grows, work and love affairs war with ambition, yet the core members of the 3AC manage to sustain their idealism. That is, until Joshua—ever the provocateur—cannot resist manipulating a series of events that will blow their friendships apart, and ultimately devastate even the lives of strangers.

Featuring a central character as enigmatic and absorbing as Jay Gatsby, The Collective is a landmark achievement—a dazzling exploration of racial identity and the queasy position of the artist in contemporary America. Brilliant and full of humanity, it is a modern classic in the making.