It’s a nightmare scenario and it’s unfortunately true. The controlling and menacing man you’ve married has cheated on you, but something even worse is waiting down the line. You’re already trying to resolve a working life with a writing life, never mind a marriage that feels like you’re being held under house arrest for charges never specified.
Angela Tung’s Black Fish explores so many great themes. Trying to pursue art to the antagonism and mockery of your spouse and relatives. Spending time “in the homeland” and finding out you’re a foreigner there, too. Wondering why you’re so unlucky while others around you seem to find happiness so easily.
All of this is shot through with Tung’s East Coast Asian American sensibility, a certain toughness to the voice even when enduring humiliations at the hands of her husband and in-laws.
Black Fish is the kind of book you read with your mouth open as bad things inevitably turn worse. And yet, even with the threat of an ill-tempered and unpredictable husband always looming, there is hope. If you bring this book to the beach this summer, you won’t make it into the water. It’s that great a read.