9 Short Stories Collections by Asian Authors to Read in 2023

2023 is proving to be another exciting year for short story collections by Asian authors, a category of books I enjoy. Short stories have become my preferred reading form for three reasons: practicality, post-trauma reading difficulties, and their captivating nature. The collections we’ve gathered represent Asian and Asian diaspora voices, offering thought-provoking insights and a chance to explore diverse perspectives. I hope you find value in these releases from this year.

A New Race Of Men From Heaven by Chaitali Sen

1. A New Race of Men From Heaven by Chaitali Sen

“A New Race of Men from Heaven” is a collection of poignant stories about wanderers who are never truly lost. It features a lonely man joining a search party, a grieving widow’s journey to the United States, and a writer’s unexpected encounter with an imposter. These migration-themed narratives embody enduring love and hope.

A Small Sacrifice For An Enormous Happiness by Jai Chakrabarti

2. A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness by Jai Chakrabarti

Jai Chakrabarti’s collection, “A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness,” delves into fourteen masterful stories that span continents and cultures. These narratives explore characters driven by their vulnerable desires, making life-altering decisions amidst transformations and familial bonds. The book illuminates the complexities of love in uncertain times and demonstrates the author’s impressive storytelling skills.

Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu

3. Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu, Translated by Tiffany Tsao

Happy Stories, Mostly is a collection of queer stories that challenge heteronormativity. Inspired by Simone Weil’s concept of decreation, the stories mix science fiction, absurdism, and alternative-historical realism. They are playful, shape-shifting, and emotionally charged. Each story feels like a puzzle piece of a larger whole, but with crucial facts omitted. Happy Stories, Mostly is a powerful puff of fresh air that destabilizes the heteronormative world and exposes its underlying absences.

Call and Response by Gothataone Moeng

4. Call and Response by Gothataone Moeng

Discover compelling stories of everyday families in contemporary Botswana as they navigate relationships, tradition, and change. From a young widow questioning mourning traditions to an older sister returning from America, each narrative explores the complexities of love and opportunity. Set in Serowe and Gaborone, these emotionally charged tales feature unforgettable female protagonists, reminiscent of writers like Adichie and Lahiri. Gothataone Moeng, an emerging African writer, brings a fresh voice to the literary scene with her cinematic storytelling.

The Goth House Experiment by Sj Sindu

5. The Goth House Experiment by SJ Sindu (Releasing in October 2023)

“The Goth House Experiment” is a striking and humorous collection of stories by SJ Sindu, an acclaimed author known for her Lambda Literary finalist and award-winning debut, “Blue-Skinned Gods.” From a millennial professor’s viral TikTok fame threatening her unstable life to a man caught in anti-Asian violence while pursuing love, these tales feature loners, artists, and moments of queer joy amidst a pandemic-stricken world. With a limitless range, SJ Sindu captures both shocking cruelty and small moments of fulfillment in this captivating collection by an exciting young voice in American literature.

The Syrian Ladies Benevolent Society by Christine Estima

6. The Syrian Ladies Benevolent Society by Christine Estima (Releasing in December 2023)

Explore interconnected stories centered around Azurée, a young Arab woman navigating her ancestral echoes. This collection traces the Arab immigrant experience from the 19th to the 21st century, following a family’s journey from the Middle East to Montreal, blending tradition with modernity. From Lebanese freedom fighters to Syrian refugees, Azurée embodies their legacy. As she confronts her blood’s complexities—ethnicity, lineage, sexuality—her path evolves from a mallrat to a traveler, culminating in a powerful confrontation of her past and future. The explosive debut, The Syrian Ladies Benevolent Society, defies boundaries, pushing Arab women beyond conventions, exploring love, betrayal, faith, and displacement.

Tomb Sweeping By Alexandra Chang

7. Tomb Sweeping by Alexandra Chang

Tomb Sweeping is a poignant collection of short stories by Alexandra Chang, that explores the complexities of relationships shaped by history, technology, and generational divides. Immigrant families, grocery store employees, expectant parents, and unsuspecting lab assistants come alive in narratives set across the US and Asia. Through vivid characters and masterful storytelling, Chang delves into themes of loyalty, loss, and the quest for fulfillment. Tomb Sweeping captivates with its skillful prose and a deep understanding of what it means to truly live.

When The Hibiscus Falls by M. Evelina Galang

8. When The Hibiscus Falls by M. Evelina Galang

When the Hibiscus Falls is a collection of seventeen poignant stories that traverse the borderlines, both mythical and real, in the lives of Filipino and Filipino American women and their ancestors. From small Philippine villages to a hurricane-battered Florida coast in the near future, these tales explore the triumphs and sorrows that connect generations of women. This book delves into the complexity of family, community, and Filipino American identity, featuring familiar characters from M. Evelina Galang’s acclaimed novels and stories. Each story is a beautiful offering, unfurling its petals and basking in the sun.

Welcome Me To The Kingdom by Mai Nardone

9. Welcome Me to The Kingdom by Mai Nardone

Welcome Me to the Kingdom is an immersive debut set in late-twentieth-century Bangkok, where three families strive for control amidst a merciless metropolis. Spanning decades and perspectives, it explores themes of betrayal, reinvention, and the stark contrast between Thailand’s public image and its hidden realities. From Elvis impersonators to sex tourism, the characters navigate a city ravaged by a financial crisis, seeking their place in a kingdom caught between worlds. Mai Nardone’s wildly imaginative stories offer a captivating glimpse into Bangkok’s dark and transformative landscape.

Which of these do you plan to read? Share with us in the comments below!