When the Color Started

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A straight-A Chinese-American high school student mourns the death of her mother and makes a new friend from Senegal; a suburban mother of three discovers that the Arab boy she lost her virginity to is now a jihadist; an American boxer in Thailand unexpectedly comes to a fight-night reckoning with his escort girlfriend and the local authorities.  Bradford Philen’s newest collection of stories gleefully dives into the problematic archetypes that loom largest in the American psyche—Beijing expat party girls, black single mothers in LA’s West Side, registered sex offenders—and dares to probe their inner lives with Chekhovian grace and understanding.  As a complex and provocative collection that openly challenges our most deeply held notions of authenticity in storytelling, When the Color Started delivers a sensitive and fearless depiction of how one half of a country dares to imagine the other.
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