Never am I more aware of how subjective my reviews really are than when I try to review a book like How to Pronounce Knife. Clearly the fact that my reviews represent my opinions and not some universal objective fact is not a groundbreaking discovery to make, but it’s something that becomes especially salient to me when it comes to a book that I didn’t enjoy for no other reason than: it just wasn’t to my taste.
There is nothing egregiously wrong about How to Pronounce Knife, but there is also nothing about it that is particularly memorable or impressive. It’s a perfectly fine collection of short stories with perfectly fine writing. Thematically, it focuses on how Asian immigrant identity, primarily Southeast Asian, interacts with and operates in family life, romantic relationships, and, more broadly, culture. It’s a collection that reads very quickly, largely owing to its stripped-back, concise writing style and the brevity of its stories’ length.
Though I can see other people enjoying its sparse and to-the-point writing, I unfortunately can’t say that this a collection that will personally stick with me in any way.
Thanks so much to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with an e-ARC of this via NetGalley!