Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

Catalog » Browse by Title: P » The Partition

The Partition


A thrilling new story collection from acclaimed writer Don Lee exploring Asian American identity, spanning decades and continents

Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before April 26, 2022.

Preorder on Bookshop
Preorder on Amazon
Preorder on Barnes & Noble

Forthcoming: 4/26/22

$27.95 $20.96

What people are saying…

The Partition is flat-out brilliant: a witty, kaleidoscopic tear through questions of race and identity in America today by a writer who has wrought luminous fiction from these issues for years. Don Lee’s collection offers vivid, entertaining proof that ethnicity is never straightforward or easy—no matter who we are, or where we stand.”
—Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad

“I’m a huge Don Lee fan. He’s smart, wry, funny. There’s also his humane view of humans, and the startling fairness with which he provides everyone’s point of view. I admire the graceful way his stories unfold, as if their pleats are intrinsic, once we stop to notice desire’s contradictions, and life’s wrinkles.”
—Ann Beattie, author of A Wonderful Stroke of Luck

“Whatever you’re hiding from may find you in a Don Lee story. But this isn’t a warning. The Partition is, again and again, about Asian Americans in ways we don’t always admit we need, a collection about how we alternately cheat and show up for each other and ourselves. And the whole time, there’s a canny, shrewd love, guiding us the way through.”
—Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

“Where would we be without the work of Don Lee? He is for so many of us our guiding light, the writer we look toward, emulate, and wish we were. Over the course of four novels and a story collection, he has not so much pushed the envelope but blasted it open and created anew the landscape of the Asian American experience with rigor, joy, hilarity, and the most generous of hearts. The Partition is storytelling at its finest and further proof of Lee’s mastery—a stunning portrait of who we are now and where we’re going.”
—Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters

Praise for Don Lee:

for Yellow:
“[A] frontal assault on matters of identity . . . [Lee] proves himself a worthy practitioner of realistic fiction in the vein of writers like Richard Yates and Andre Dubus. His narratives zip along, encapsulating whole lifetimes of intelligent men and women whose self-awareness is insufficient for the gauntlets they must run . . . It’s a tricky proposition to write about ethnicity and not crowd readers with right thinking. But Lee does it, and in the process proves that wondering about whether you’re a real American is as American as a big bowl of kimchi.”
New York Times Book Review

for Country of Origin:
“[An] engrossing first novel . . . about origins and destinations that succeeds rather effectively in dramatizing all sorts of questions about where we have come from and where we are going . . . A nicely textured travelogue of Tokyo’s underlife, all a swirl of action, a whirl of love and sex and race and politics, local and international.”
Chicago Tribune

for Wrack and Ruin:
“Masterly . . . Lee has outdone himself here. His prose moves and sparkles. He gives his characters a depth and thoroughness not commonly achieved by practitioners of the comic novel, a label that seems almost a disservice to a book as thoughtful as this one.”
Washington Post

for The Collective:
“A fine prose stylist meditates on idealism and pragmatism in his novel of ambitious, young Asian American artists . . . Here, he credibly addresses the political and social concerns of a specific demographic, while also rendering a work that will feel relatable to nearly everyone who reads it.”
Time Out New York

for Lonesome Lies Before Us:
“Mr. Lee plucks familiar chords with a sure hand, glancing on themes of grief, jealousy and second chances . . . But what really stamps this book on the heart is Yadin’s vulnerable spiritual journey from loneliness toward something like grace.”
Wall Street Journal


Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before April 26, 2022.

Twenty-one years after the publication of his landmark debut collection Yellow, Don Lee returns to the short story form for his sixth book, The Partition.

The Partition is an updated exploration of Asian American identity, this time with characters who are presumptive model minorities in the arts, academia, and media. Spanning decades, these nine novelistic stories traverse an array of cities, from Tokyo to Boston, Honolulu to El Paso, touching upon transient encounters in local bars, restaurants, and hotels.

Culminating in a three-story cycle about a Hollywood actor, The Partition incisively examines heartbreak, identity, family, and relationships, the characters searching for answers to universal questions: Where do I belong? How can I find love? What defines an authentic self?

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Published: 4/26/22
  • IBSN: 9781636140315
  • e-IBSN: 9781636140414


DON LEE is the author of the story collection Yellow and the novels Country of Origin, Wrack and Ruin, The Collective, and Lonesome Lies Before Us. He has received an American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, the writer Jane Delury, and teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Temple University in Philadelphia. The Partition is his latest work.

Author Events

More info »