Interior China

The Book

Each year, first-year students at Connecticut College engage in a shared summer reading along with their faculty, staff, and student advisers. The 2021 selection is Interior Chinatown, a novel and National Book Award Winner by Charles Yu.

Interior Chinatown, the 2020 winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, is an allegorical novel that takes place in a building that serves as the residence for several floors of Asian-American families. On the ground floor, a Chinese restaurant is the setting for a police procedural television series, starring a Black male detective and a female White detective. The Asian-American residents are the background actors in the series, alternating between non-speaking and speaking parts, always of minor significance. Yu uses this innovative premise of a screenplay format to highlight the longstanding marginalization of Asians in American culture. Drawing on history, satire, and moving family encounters, he provides a searing critique of the persisting stereotypes and disregard that Asian-Americans have faced since this country’s founding.

Please visit Additional Resources to read book reviews about Interior Chinatown and videos of interviews with the author.


Charles Yu
Charles Yu

The Author

CHARLES YU is the author of four books, including Interior Chinatown (the winner of the 2020 National Book Award for fiction), and the novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (a New York Times Notable Book and a Time magazine best book of the year). He received the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Award and was nominated for two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the HBO series, Westworld. He has also written for shows on FX, AMC, and HBO. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired, among other publications. His most recent novel is Interior Chinatown.

Click here to learn more about Charles Yu.


The Event

As part of the One Book, One Region initiative of New London County, author Charles Yu will visit The Garde Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5. Yu will be joined by Ayako Takamori, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Culture at Connecticut College, for an interactive Q&A session on stage. This event will be in person and also live streamed at Questions may be submitted in advance to Please visit for Covid-19 policies and precautions. 

One Book One Region is made possible through Connecticut Humanities; Eversource; the Libraries of Eastern CT; the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; Waterford Walmart; and Connecticut College’s Office of the President. Bank Square Books arranged for the purchase of Interior Chinatown for the Class of 2025 and their advisers.