LET'S GO LET'S GO LET'S GO (Paperback)
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence
A TIME Best Book of 2023
“Qian has a gift for sensory details, and for the speculative and grotesque. . . . a pleasure to read.”—Raven Leilani, author of Luster
The electric, unsettling, and often surreal stories in LET'S GO LET'S GO LET'S GO explore the alienated, technology-mediated lives of restless Asian and Asian American women today. A woman escapes into dating simulations to forget her best friend’s abandonment; a teenager begins to see menacing omens on others’ bodies after her double eyelid surgery; reunited schoolmates are drawn into the Japanese mountains to participate in an uncanny social experiment; a supernatural karaoke machine becomes a K-pop star’s channel for redemption. In every story, characters refuse dutiful, docile stereotypes. They are ready to explode, to question conventions. Their compulsions tangle with unrequited longing and queer desire in their search for something ineffable across cities, countries, and virtual worlds.
With precision and provocation, Cleo Qian’s immersive debut jolts us into the reality of lives fragmented by screens, relentless consumer culture, and the flattening pressures of modern society—and asks how we might hold on to tenderness against the impulses within us.
About the Author
Cleo Qian is a writer from southern California. Her work has been published in The Guardian, Shenandoah, Pleiades, The Common and elsewhere. She lives in New York City. LET'S GO LET'S GO LET'S GO is her first book.
Qian illuminates the lives of young Asian and Asian American women in a modern, globalized, hyper-digital world where the pressure to settle down persists.
— The New York Times Book Review
— TIME, a Best Book of Summer
Bold and affecting. . . . explores aging, desire, cultural identity, and queer love among Asian girls and women. Qian depicts with honesty and compassion her protagonists’ complex inner lives. . . . Necessary and poignant.
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Lovely. . . . Luminously written. . . . Reveals startling and subtle truths.
— Kirkus Reviews
Eerie but compassionate. . . . Wildly imaginative yet unnervingly real, Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go fronts the anxieties and lonesomeness of twenty-first century Asian women.
— Electric Literature, A Best Debut Short Story Collection of 2023
Perceptive. . . . [an] astute debut collection populated by disconnected young women in flux.
— NYLON, A Best Book of August
Surreal and enchanting. . . . Everyone who has doom-scrolled should read this.
— Debutiful, a Best Book of August
Includes a supernatural karaoke machine, uncanny social experiments, dating sims, and a teen with unsettling visions after double eyelid surgery. I'm struggling to focus on anything else until I'm able to finish this startling, precise, and viscerally true book.
— Powell's, A Most Anticipated Book of 2023
An all-caps title, you say? I’m intrigued. I’ll also be honest: the publisher’s description of Cleo Qian’s LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO had my interest piqued the moment I saw the phrase “supernatural karaoke machine.” I will die on the hill that weird and speculative fiction would benefit from the addition of more karaoke — and I’m glad this book is adding to that milieu.
Tales of dating simulations, post-surgery visions, a supernatural karaoke machine, and more.
— Gizmodo, Best Science Fiction Books of August
Queering stereotypes of Asian American women and questioning our dependence on tech, these stories complicate consumerism, capitalism, duty and desire.
— Ms. Magazine, A Best Book of August
A multifaceted collection that is beautifully paced and deeply introspective.
— Chicago Review of Books
Surprising surreal elements and vivid prose reminiscent of a well-crafted Japanese Manga comic.
— Full Stop
Invigorating and surreal, exploring the alienated, technology-mediated lives of contemporary Asian and Asian American women. . . . Qian’s characters refuse stereotypes, instead questioning conventions and rebelling against consumer culture, the pressures of modern society and more.
— Purewow, A Best Book of August
These stories shatter stereotypes and awaken vibrant, queer conversation through a glaring critique of our screen-filled society.
— She Reads
Vibrant and gritty and saturated with details.
— Chicago Reader
Precise imagery and a voice both sharply observant and yearning.
— Poets & Writers
One of the strongest story collections I have read in years, a book that astounds with both its subtlety and complexity.
— Largehearted Boy, A Best Story Collection of 2023
Qian has given a voice to an entire generation of twentysomethings who are just as confused and stressed out as her protagonists are.
An unnerving yet sanguine portrayal of finding connection in a detached world. . . . a frank yet earnest and sincere portrayal of humanity in our technological era.
— Cleaver Magazine
LET'S GO LET'S GO LET'S GO is sharp and unprecious about the sticky aspects of having flesh. This collection is riddled with outsiders of different shades, of people who stand back from their realities with secret and burning questions. There are really tender portraits of yearning, of the unsteady but precious entanglements of both platonic and romantic love. It’s careful and soberly rendered, and it was a pleasure to read.
— Raven Leilani, author of Luster
In LET'S GO LET'S GO LET'S GO, Qian devastates like the best photographs from our youth, making us long for what’s lost while never losing sight of what is necessary for survival. The stories remind you that what you observe is already gone, and make you want to pay closer attention to what is already passing into memory.
— Kyle Dillon Hertz, author of The Lookback Window
Perfectly askew, the stories in LET'S GO LET'S GO LET'S GO thrum with restless questioning and acute longing, shot through with tart, knowing observations. It seemed to vibrate in my hands as I read it.
— Ling Ma, author of Bliss Montage
Mischievous and hypnotizing, LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO takes us to manifold narrative realms where stories self-proliferate and artificial simulations often hijack and replace reality. Formally complex and emotionally potent, this is a collection I’ll return to again and again.
— Yan Ge, author of Strange Beasts of China
Cleo Qian’s LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO is an uncanny Asian American fantasia where fringe artist collectives, melancholy K-pop stars, anxious piano prodigies, disembodied digital ghosts, and lovelorn alchemists converge. Deeply psychological, these stories confront the bizarre horrors of modern life, finding surprising beauty and supernatural catharsis. I’ll be thinking about these characters for a long, long time.
— Jean Chen Ho, author of Fiona and Jane