show #310: nights when nothing happened

simon han‘s exceptional debut “nights when nothing happened” about a chinese family coming to the the american suburb of plano, texas was the topic of discussion on the book club this week.

alienation, fear, roles and expectations of parents and children within the family unit, assimilating and retaining the self, whatever that is: a tight novel with multiple perspectives, told with intensity and – in drax’ humble opinion – perfect pacing.


and now more stuff for y’all to discuss:

  • the original livestream of the show:
  • the postgame hangout with simon and hardcore book nerds:
  • some slides from co-producer shyla, this one an excerpt of the novel, showing son jack’s introduction to the american school day. he grew up in china with his grandparents while his parents tried to build a foundation for the family in america ….
  • mother patty and father liang come from different cultural backgrounds within china: the city/country divide is probably starker than in america or europe, and it influences the family dynamics in the novel ….
  • have you been to plano, texas? neither have i but hello those suburbs are sprawling … they provide the third element in this mix of inter-cultural adjustement challenges …

  • poet li-young lee’s poem “epistle” figures big as a theme throughout the book. simon put an excerpt up front and shyla put the whole poem on a big monolith in-world …
  • this was a busy week: first iteration of the non-fiction show debuted past friday with cory doctorow and david dayen discussing living in corporate america today [hint: the monopolized set is still out there in book club island land] …
  • very sad news: ebbe altberg, ceo of linden lab, has passed away on thursday ….
  • i have a lot of fond memories, his mentorship, his energy, i have some wonderful quirky anectodes from santa cruz and dublin, for some reason yes dublin and beer was involved, but also from inside second life and of course sansar [below a clip from atlas hopping, ebbe in his synth-wave avatar …]
  • shyla wrote a wonderful poem for ebbe ….
  • what else is happening in-world? music is healing … music made in sl ….

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