My Symptoms

Chinese-American writer John Yau’s short fiction collection is set in bleak neighborhoods of casual misunderstanding, habitual deception and oblique, transient encounters among strangers. At the heart of Yau’s artistic inquiry is that precarious and unstable thing “identity”—and the ways that isolation and alienation threaten identity altogether. The Review of Contemporary Fiction said, “These are stories that recount the symptoms of many, if not most of us.”

Throughout My Symptoms, male and female narrators surprise us with unusual, shifting colloquialisms, with playfully enlivened cliches, pleasing turns of phrase.
The Review of Contemporary Fiction

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John Yau is an award-winning poet and fiction writer who has been publishing art criticism since 1978. He is a professor of critical studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He served as the arts editor of The Brooklyn Rail from 2006 – 2011, and then began writing for Hyperallergic Weekend. In 2021, Yau was awarded the Rabkin Prize for excellence in visual arts journalism.

His books of art criticism include In the Realm of Appearances: The Art of Andy Warhol and A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns, as well as monographs on Wifredo Lam, Thomas Nozkowski, Joe Brainard, Catherine Murphy, Richard Artschwager, Liu Xiaodong, and Kim Tschang-yeul.

Yau’s previous book from Black Sparrow Press include Edificio Sayonara, Hawaiian Cowboys, Forbidden Entries, My Symptoms, and My Heart is that Eternal Rose Tattoo.