Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So is a collection of short stories focused on the lives of Cambodian Americans, their interlinking relationships, and the generational trauma of the Khmer Rouge genocide. ‘Three Woman of Chuck’s Donuts’ is about a family who owns a donut shop while a mysterious man comes to order a single fritter every night without eating it. ‘Superking Son Scores Again’ is about a badminton coach who owns a store and can’t stop reliving his glory days. ‘Maly, Maly, Maly’ is about two cousins who hang out and work at a bootleg DVD store, where they get high, watch porn together, and then go to a ceremony for the rebirth of their aunt. ‘The Shop’ is about a father who owns a mechanic shop, but the business begins to fail after one of the cars is stolen. Other stories I enjoyed were ‘The Monks’ and ‘Human Development’.
The stories feature interlinking characters, though fairly loose in the specific plots between them. Thus, they create a tapestry of what it means to be Khmer, gay, and sometimes aimless. It’s a tender and powerful collection.
Final Rating: 5/5
Maxwell Suzuki is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Los Angeles.