In this hilariously savage, poignant novel by acclaimed author Katherine Min, a grieving daughter’s revenge on the man who caused her mother’s death sets off a series of unexpected reckonings.
On a cold, gloomy night, twenty-three-year-old Kyoko stands in the rain with a knife in her hoodie’s pocket. Her target is Daniel, who seduced Kyoko’s mother then callously dropped her, leading to her death. But tonight, there will be repercussions. Following the unsuspecting Daniel home, Kyoko manages to get a rash kidnapping plot off the ground . . . and then nothing goes as planned.
The Fetishist is the story of three people—Kyoko, a Japanese American punk-rock singer full of rage and grief; Daniel, a philandering violinist forced to confront the wreckage of his past; and Alma, the love of Daniel’s life, a Korean American cello prodigy long adored for her beauty, passion, and talent, but who spends her final days examining if she was ever, truly, loved.
An exuberant, provocative story that confronts race, complicity, visibility, and ideals of femininity, The Fetishist was written before the celebrated author’s untimely death in 2019. Startlingly prescient, as wise and powerful as it is utterly delightful, this novel cements Katherine Min’s legacy as a writer with a singular voice for our times.
About the Author
Katherine Min received an NEA grant, a Pushcart Prize, a Sherwood Anderson Foundation Fiction Award, two New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Fellowships, and a North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship, and attended residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, Jentel, Ucross, Hambidge, the Millay Colony, and Ledig House. Her acclaimed debut novel, Secondhand World, was a finalist for the PEN/Bingham Award in 2007. The Fetishist is her first posthumous publication. katherinekmin.com
An Indie Next Pick
"Filled with grim humor, Min’s novel is an engaging and thoughtful read. Those who enjoyed Charmaine Craig’s My Nemesis and Elaine Hsieh Chou’s Disorientation are likely to appreciate this final work from Min, which fully reflects her talents as a writer." —Library Journal
"[A] literary marvel. . . Min's focus is magnificently aimed at dissecting, confronting, and exposing the fetishization of Asian women, but she never loses sight of engaging, inventive, playful storytelling. Balancing biting humor, wrenching despair, and unexpected redemption, Min radiantly succeeds in delivering that promised (mostly, cautiously) happy ending. . . Impeccable, surprisingly humorous, utterly poignant." —Shelf Awareness
"[A] raucous, gorgeous, harrowing novel . . . Min’s narration plays with the shapes, sounds, and anagrams of her words to give richness to the story, which bullets forth in theatrical fashion, distended with tension, until the final, exquisite burst. Though it’s as fun as a blockbuster, it also offers the rich inner humanity only a novel can. Min's characters are flawed and lovable—even the villains. . . . A farce that deftly tackles shame, grief, parents, chronic illness, colonialism, and the hollowness of enmity in a systemically unjust world? Magic. Min’s wit and wisdom live on.” —Booklist (starred review)
"Sensitive and insightful, and its detangling of the knot that is racism, otherness, and desire is nothing short of expert. A tenderly told tale of the losses that wreck and redeem us." —Kirkus Reviews
"Spiky . . . Sets out to restore a sense of humanity to the women whose lives have been squeezed by stereotypes. . . . [A] technicolor, Tarantino-esque crime plot . . . Great fun.” —Publishers Weekly
"Incandescent, astonishing, a miracle. I’m elated and deeply grateful this book exists." —R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
"The Fetishist is so reverent and so unruly, so delicate and so explosive, such a merge of chamber music with the mosh pit, so devastatingly sad and devastatingly funny and alive and generous with its abundance of life! I mourn Katherine Min, and am grateful this fiery novel of hers insisted its way out of Katherine’s laptop and into the world. Hats off to Kayla Min Andrews for clearing the path." —Susan Choi, author of Trust Exercise
"The Fetishist is lit from the very first page with a wicked, crackling, hilarious intensity. The subject is provocative, the writing is flush with elegance and intelligence. I finished this book and immediately wanted to talk about it with someone. It's a fire-starter of a novel." —Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins
"Fiercely intelligent, perfectly crafted, and brimming with wit, The Fetishist is a moving exploration of art, love, grief, and desire. Katherine Min’s sentences will provoke you and wind their way around your heart." —Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers
"Blistering and brilliant, The Fetishist will move, anger, and make you wince with recognition. Katherine Min is a singular, wildly talented voice and this is a trailblazing novel which deserves widespread attention for its literary merits as well as the overdue conversations it will surely evoke. As incisive and topical on fetishization and intersectionality as Kiley Reid's Such a Fun Age and Raven Leilani's Luster.” —Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti