2019 Featured Author: Chia-Chia Lin

Chia-Chia Lin graduated with an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where she received the Henfield Prize. Her short stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Glimmer Train, The Missouri Review, Zyzzyva, and other journals.

She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Unpassing, out in May from FSG, is her first novel.



The Unpassing


One of the Wall Street Journal Magazine‘s 12 Best Books of Spring. Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by the Los Angeles TimesEsquireSouthern Living, The Rumpus, The Millions, Literary Hub, and Electric Literature

A searing debut novel that explores community, identity, and the myth of the American dream through an immigrant family in Alaska

In Chia-Chia Lin’s debut novel, The Unpassing, we meet a Taiwanese immigrant family of six struggling to make ends meet on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. The father, hardworking but beaten down, is employed as a plumber and repairman, while the mother, a loving, strong-willed, and unpredictably emotional matriarch, holds the house together. When ten-year-old Gavin contracts meningitis at school, he falls into a deep, nearly fatal coma. He wakes up a week later to learn that his little sister Ruby was infected, too. She did not survive.

Routine takes over for the grieving family: the siblings care for each other as they befriend a neighboring family and explore the woods; distance grows between the parents as they deal with their loss separately. But things spiral when the father, increasingly guilt ridden after Ruby’s death, is sued for not properly installing a septic tank, which results in grave harm to a little boy. In the ensuing chaos, what really happened to Ruby finally emerges.

With flowing prose that evokes the terrifying beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, Lin explores the fallout after the loss of a child and the way in which a family is forced to grieve in a place that doesn’t yet feel like home. Emotionally raw and subtly suspenseful, The Unpassing is a deeply felt family saga that dismisses the American dream for a harsher, but ultimately more profound, reality. (From FSG)


“The Unpassing is a breathtaking novel, full of characters as strong and as wild as the Alaskan landscape they inhabit.  Sentence after gorgeous sentence, I was pulled into their eery and beautiful world.  Chia-Chia Lin is a remarkable writer.”  —Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing

“Chia-Chia Lin captures the strangeness and beauty of childhood better than any writer in recent memory, and she is a brilliant observer of physical and emotional landscapes … this debut novel, a true work of art, displays the kind of clear and uniquely-angled vision that announces the beginning of a remarkable career.” —Jamel Brinkley, author of A Lucky Man

“Chia-Chia Lin has written a novel of such strange, brittle beauty as to resemble nothing else so much as living, itself. Her prose—at once poetic and lucid, by turns darkly comic and haunting—achieves something like the peculiar grammar of loss. I turned the last page with heartache and wonder, a feeling of having been undone and remade.” —D. Wystan Owen, author of Other People’s Love Affairs



The 12 Best Books of Spring” by Thomas Gebremedhin in WSJ Magazine

48 Books By Women and Nonbinary Authors of Color to Read in 2019” by BookSwell 2018 Featured Author R.O. Kwon in Electric Lit

7 highly anticipated debut novels to check out this spring” by Michael Schaub in Los Angeles Times



LA Events



5/13/2019 at Skylight Books @ 7:30 PM:

Chia-Chia Lin reads from her debut novel The Unpassing with Jamel Brinkley


From Anywhere

7/11/2019 to 8/1/2019:

Chia-Chia Lin teaches a 4-Week Online Novel Workshop: Creating an Immersive World with Catapult