‘Flux,’ by Jinwoo Chong ’21, Out Now from Melville House
March 29, 2023
Flux, a debut novel by alumnus Jinwoo Chong ’21, is out now from Melville House.
Chong’s novel is a kaleidoscopic blend of noir and speculative fiction, interweaving the timelines of three characters—eight-year-old Bo, twenty-eight-year-old Brandon, and forty-eight-year-old Blue—at a critical moment in each of their lives. Through the gripping, time-bending narrative, Chong explores intimate questions of identity and grief, delivering a novel that is as full of heart as it is of thrills.
The opening pages of Flux begin with a direct address to Thomas Raider, the hero of an iconic but short-lived TV show from decades past. Chong writes, “Your line was always: ‘give me a reason.’ Always. And forget the fact that it was and continues to be the cheesiest TV-pilot-gravel-voiced-detective-mystery catchphrase ever written. It was your thing, you were the guy who wanted everybody in the world to give you a reason, the reason, any reason, and for the most part, for most of the episodes through 1985 and 1986, people did. When you said it, the world was right.”
In a conversation for Interview Magazine, Chong was asked about the first thing he did after turning in a draft of his novel. “I walked to the Milk Bar outpost at the Columbus Circle Nordstrom and bought a slice of the birthday cake for 11 dollars,” he said.
Excitement for Chong’s debut has been amassing over the past few months, with Flux appearing on this year’s “Most Anticipated’ lists from Literary Hub, Nylon, Goodreads, and Men's Health, among others. The novel has since received glowing reviews from many outlets, including starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus. Author Laird Hunt, writing for The New York Times Book Review, said, "Flux happily offers a moving appraisal of lives buffeted by personal and systemic traumas; a deep dive into the good, the bad and the ugly of self-serving corporate culture; and no shortage of “wait, what the heck just happened?” thrills."
Jinwoo Chong’s work has appeared in The Southern Review, The Rumpus, LitHub, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Electric Literature.He received the Oran Robert Perry Burke Award for Fiction from The Southern Review and a special mention in the 2022 Pushcart Prize anthology. He lives in New York and is an editorial assistant at One Story.