• The Unpassing

  • A Novel
  • By: Chia-Chia Lin
  • Narrated by: Feodor Chin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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The Unpassing  By  cover art

The Unpassing

By: Chia-Chia Lin
Narrated by: Feodor Chin
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Publisher's summary

One of Esquire Magazine's Best Books of the Year for 2019
A 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee

A Washington Post Best Audiobook of 2019

"Told in the first person, the story is narrated by Feodor Chin, whose smooth, matter-of-fact voice perfectly suits Gavin’s descriptions of the family’s junky house; his ineffectual, mistake-prone father; his seething mother; and a persistent sense of not belonging." (Star Tribune)

One of Esquire, The Rumpus, The Millions, Literary Hub, and Electric Literature's Most Anticipated Books of 2019!

A searing debut that explores community, identity, and the myth of the American dream through an immigrant family in Alaska.

In Chia-Chia Lin’s debut, The Unpassing, we meet a Taiwanese immigrant family of six struggling to make ends meet on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. The father, hardworking but beaten down, is employed as a plumber and repairman, while the mother, a loving, strong-willed, and unpredictably emotional matriarch, holds the house together. When 10-year-old Gavin contracts meningitis at school, he falls into a deep, nearly fatal coma. He wakes up a week later to learn that his little sister Ruby was infected, too. She did not survive.

Routine takes over for the grieving family: The siblings care for each other as they befriend a neighboring family and explore the woods; distance grows between the parents as they deal with their loss separately. But things spiral when the father, increasingly guilt ridden after Ruby’s death, is sued for not properly installing a septic tank, which results in grave harm to a little boy. In the ensuing chaos, what really happened to Ruby finally emerges.

With flowing prose that evokes the terrifying beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, Lin explores the fallout after the loss of a child and the way in which a family is forced to grieve in a place that doesn’t yet feel like home. Emotionally raw and subtly suspenseful, The Unpassing is a deeply felt family saga that dismisses the American dream for a harsher but ultimately more profound reality.

©2019 Chia-Chia Lin (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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great novel

Loved the book. Usually after I read a book i forget about it and move on to the next one -- so much so that often I won't be able to tell you much about it a year later. With this book, the more i think about it, the more I like it, especially the last few chapters. After i finished the book, i kind of sat there thinking about it -- like when a great movie has a great ending.

the narrator Feodor Chin does a great job with the cadence and pacing of the book, though -- to no fault of his -- i found the inter-chapter scene changes that were noted in the book were not easily captured in the audio because there isn't any audio cue for that. that made some of these transitions harder to follow but it doesn't detract from the overall experience.

to fully experience it, it is good for listening to on a long walk or something where you won't get distracted.

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