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Dispatches from the Cold
Dispatches from the Cold

Dispatches from the Cold


289 Pages, 5.0 x 8.0

Formats: Trade Paper, Cloth

Trade Paper, $15.95 (US $15.95) (CA $21.95)

Publication Date: July 2009

ISBN 9780930773939

Rights: WOR

Black Heron Press (Jul 2009)

Price: $15.95


What would you do if strange letters began appearing in your mail box? Read them? When the unnamed narrator of this novel opens misdirected letters, he enters the harsh, disturbing world of Farrel Gorden. Gorden, an assistant manager in a sporting goods store near New Hampshire, hates his new Korean- American boss, and is on the verge of losing control of his hatred. As we watch the narrator reconstruct the recent events in Gorden's life, including an affair with his boss' wife and the wrenching consequences that follow, the paths of these two disparate characters- letter reader and letter writer- converge violently as each intrudes in the life of the other. This is a story that blurs the distinction between the real and the imaginary, the violent and the mundane, and negotiates the exterior world and interior workings of a vengeful mind.


"Chang narrates his passionate, downbeat tale with naturalistic distance and an authentic, even microscopic grasp of the boring, dead-end world Farrel inhabits…Chang is an exceptionally talented writer…" — Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1998

"In his provocative second novel, Chang deftly varies a formula used by Hitchcock in REAR WINDOW: a man in a position of enforced idleness becomes obsessed with the activities of a total stranger…In clean and vernacular-accurate prose, Chang painstakingly evokes the working-class lives of both characters, as well as their ethnic prejudices and misunderstandings. The deliberately slow pace of the narrative accentuates the impact of the step-by-step account of Gorden's descent into murderous rage, building to the narrator's disastrous intervention. In the end, the trajectory of both their lives acquires an air of tragic inevitability." — Publishers Weekly, June 8, 1998

"Chang's gift for unsentimental storytelling is indisputable . . ." — Library Journal

". . . Chang's pacing hums. He possesses a master storyteller's sense of timing and economy." — The San Francisco Bay Guardian

"With stark and spare prose that sets off handsomely the complex narrative structure, Leonard Chang's brave new novel deftly showcases a compelling drama set against the backdrop of a blue-collar New England… In this richly imaginative novel, what is most refreshing is how very ordinary Chang's Korean characters are in the sense that their character development is not confined to their ethnicity… They are fully realized, and thus their entanglement with Farrel Gorden is all the more powerful and relevant. Truly, Chang must be commended for daring to step outside the conventional themes that plague popular Asian American literature…a powerful and complex novel…" — KoreAm Journal

"Gorden's maniacal rampage revolves around a fine axis of twisted emotions, the irrationality of which only draws the reader in. Chang's second release is a rich geometry that keeps your pulse from getting too sluggish." — A. Magazine

Author Biography

Leonard Chang was born in New York City and raised on Long Island. He attended Dartmouth College and received his BA in philosophy from Harvard University, and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Irvine.