Days of Distraction: A Novel (Hardcover)

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“A startlingly original and deeply moving debut—kaleidoscopic, funny, heart-rending, beautifully observed, and formally daring.... Chang here establishes herself as one of the most important of the new generation of American writers.”   — George Saunders

“A wholly engaging joy to read. Chang writes with wit and sharpness.”
   — Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black

A wry, tender portrait of a young woman—finally free to decide her own path, but unsure if she knows herself well enough to choose wisely—from a captivating new literary voice

The plan is to leave. As for how, when, to where, and even why—she doesn’t know yet. So begins a journey for the twenty-four-year-old narrator of Days of Distraction. As a staff writer at a prestigious tech publication, she reports on the achievements of smug Silicon Valley billionaires and start-up bros while her own request for a raise gets bumped from manager to manager. And when her longtime boyfriend, J, decides to move to a quiet upstate New York town for grad school, she sees an excuse to cut and run.

Moving is supposed to be a grand gesture of her commitment to J and a way to reshape her sense of self. But in the process, she finds herself facing misgivings about her role in an interracial relationship. Captivated by the stories of her ancestors and other Asian Americans in history, she must confront a question at the core of her identity: What does it mean to exist in a society that does not notice or understand you?

Equal parts tender and humorous, and told in spare but powerful prose, Days of Distraction is an offbeat coming-of-adulthood tale, a touching family story, and a razor-sharp appraisal of our times.

About the Author


Alexandra Chang is from Northern California. She graduated from UC Berkeley and received her MFA from Syracuse University. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Glimmer TrainLARB Quarterly Journal, Catapult, and elsewhere. She has previously worked as a technology reporter for WIRED and Macworld, and now lives in upstate New York.

Praise For…


"Chang portrays early adulthood with elegance and an offbeat humor that complements her poignant and deeply significant observations of life as a woman of color. She explores the struggle to be free in an oppressive society with incredible insight and clear, captivating prose that set her apart as a striking new voice in literature."
— Booklist (starred review)

“A startlingly original and deeply moving debut—kaleidoscopic, funny, heart-rending, beautifully observed, and formally daring.  It struck me as a new variety of novel.... Chang here establishes herself as one of the most important of the new generation of American writers.”
— George Saunders

“A wholly engaging joy to read. Chang writes with wit and sharpness as she curates moments, observations and histories that together make something of beautiful depth and significance. It takes great bravery to make art of so many of those things we fear and love. An important, gratifying read.”
— Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062951809
ISBN-10: 0062951807
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: March 31st, 2020
Pages: 320
Language: English