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Feb 12, 2023
Book excerpt:
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Little, Brown

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Inspired by the experience of Taiwanese American basketball player Jeremy Lin, who in 2012 became an international sensation (and a lightning rod for racists), Matthew Salesses, author of “Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear,” and the non-fiction “Craft in the Real World,” offers a novel that jumps between tragedy and comedy.

“The Sense of Wonder” (Little, Brown) follows basketball star Won Lee, and sportswriter Robert Sung, who covers the amazing streak of the NBA’s first Asian American player. The novel dunks on pop culture, anti-Asian prejudice, and media exploitation.

Read an excerpt below. 

“The Sense of Wonder” by Matthew Salesses (Hardcover)

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It’s a cake!

For a while, there were these popular YouTube videos in which a person would present what looked like an everyday object — a bowl of fruit, a rice cooker, a Rubik’s Cube — then slowly cut into the object until they had a slice. At that point, the person would lift out the slice and show that it was actually a cake, complete with layers and frosting.

On my favorite account, the creator was a tiny Asian mom who, each time she lifted out the slice, would shout with amazement, “It’s a cake!” as if she hadn’t known. Eventually, the objects became more impressive — a bouquet of flowers, a sneaker, a cup of coffee — until she made this one video in which the screen showed only her two hands and a knife, and then she picked up the knife with one hand and cut open the other. As usual, she shouted, “It’s a cake!” with glee. I got to watching that video on repeat, especially late at night when I suffered from jet lag. Each time, the hand looked so real. “It’s a cake!” I would say with her. It got to be a mantra, something I could say whenever life turned out to be more than it seemed. I would picture the woman chewing a slice of herself and moaning as if she were the most delicious thing in the world.

Excerpted from “The Sense of Wonder” by Matthew Salesses. Copyright © 2023 by Matthew Salesses. Used with permission of Little Brown. New York, NY. All rights reserved.   

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“The Sense of Wonder” by Matthew Salesses (Hardcover)

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