A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged exploration of the psychological condition of being Asian American, by an award-winning poet and essayist

How do we speak honestly about the Asian American condition--if such a thing exists?

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. Binding these essays together is Hong's theory of "minor feelings." As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality--when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity.

With sly humor and a poet's searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and artmaking, and to family and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche--and of a writer's search to both uncover and speak the truth.
“Cathy Park Hong’s brilliant, penetrating, and unforgettable Minor Feelings is what was missing from our shelf of classics. She brings acute intelligence, scholarly knowledge, and recognizable vulnerability to the formation of a new school of thought she names minor feelings. In conversation with Sianne Ngai’s Ugly Feelings, Hong charts her emotional life as a Korean American immigrant woman, thereby shattering the concept of a single story of the Asian experience. Minor Feelings builds through what Hong names a ‘racialized range of emotions,’ which are routinely dismissed by others. To read this book is to become more human.”—Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen

“Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings truly delivers news we can use. It will educate some and inspire hallelujahs from others; people will productively argue with it, be inspired by it, think and feel with and around it. Hong says the book was ‘a dare to herself,’ and she makes good on it: by writing into the heart of her own discomfort, she emerges with a reckoning destined to become a classic.”—Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts and Bluets

Minor Feelings is an essayistic investigation of those feelings so hard to name, a mix of the elusive, denied, unexpected, and unexplored—a fierce catalogue of that which has not been named and yet won’t be ignored; an electric intervention, a provocation, and a renewal.”—Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

“I seldom finish a book and say we are not ready for what I just read. But we are so not ready for what Cathy Park Hong does in Minor Feelings. And thankfully, she does not care whether we are ready or not. Minor Feelings seals intellectual cracks while patiently revealing emotional and national secrets I was afraid and unwilling to name. Few books change how we talk to each other and whisper to ourselves. Minor Feeling is one of those books that changes the language we use to reckon, to talk, to write, and to hide. Cathy Park Hong sees us. Her vision and execution are so breathtaking. And so genius. And so absolutely scary. Read it. Reread it. It will read you.”—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

“Cathy Park Hong’s book is tremendous. The entire time I read, I was hissing yes and yes and YESSSSS and letting my minor feelings become major feelings, which I think is the glory of a book like this—it takes all the parts of us that we can barely account for and gives them back fully recognized. It felt like having someone sit me down in a chair and say, ‘Your feelings are real’ and ‘This is how we got here’ and ‘Here is a way out’ all at once. It broke my heart with relief.”—Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk and The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing