Jinwoo Chong's first novel, Flux, is a fusion of mystery, flare and sci-fi genre accents. Three narrators lead readers on a tangled path through the persistence of grief, the pervasion of pop culture and the complexities of the Asian American experience.
Brandon, a half white, half Asian bisexual man in his 20s, is blindsided when, just days before Christmas, his boss and lover tells him that he's lost his magazine job in a hostile takeover. Brandon falls down an elevator shaft later the same day and sustains a head injury. Things seem to look up when stranger Lev offers him a job at Flux, a startup that is soon to be the manufacturer of a new battery that could solve the energy crisis. The job pays well, though it comes with the caveat that Brandon will allow Flux to scan his brain on occasion. He soon finds himself struggling to remember events in order. Strange recurring clues lead him to suspect his new employers may have discovered something far bigger than an eco-friendly battery.
Brandon's narration is intercut with the stories of two other protagonists, eight-year-old Bo and a man named Blue. And readers may sometimes feel in the dark as to where Chong is taking the narrative, but the journey is well worth the suspense. Some elements feel ripped from the headlines, grounding speculative aspects in a familiar reality. This rich debut should attract sci-fi and literary fiction readers. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads