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The Unnamed Press

But the Girl by Jessica Zhan Mei Yu (Paperback) (PREORDER)

But the Girl by Jessica Zhan Mei Yu (Paperback) (PREORDER)

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Fiction - Literary - World Literature - South Asian 


“Having been Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina and Esther Greenwood all my life, my writing was an opportunity for the reader to have to be me…”

Girl was born on the very day her parents and grandmother immigrated from Malaysia to Australia. The story goes that her mother held on tight to her pelvic muscles in an effort to gift her the privilege of an Australian passport. But it's hard to be the embodiment of all your family's hopes and dreams, especially in a country that's hostile to your very existence.

When Girl receives a scholarship to travel to the UK, she is finally free for the first time. In London and then Scotland she is meant to be working on a PhD on Sylvia Plath and writing a postcolonial novel. But Girl can't stop thinking about her upbringing and the stories of the people who raised her. How can she reconcile their expectations with her reality? Did Sylvia Plath have this problem? What even is a 'postcolonial novel'? And what if the story of becoming yourself is not about carving out a new identity, but learning to understand the people who made you who you are?


Jessica Zhan Mei Yu is a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Melbourne. Her writing has been published in Best Australian Poems, Overland, Yen, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Wh/ite Review and more. In 2021, she was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Prize for Literature Award in the Unpublished Manuscript category. But the Girl is her first novel and her first essay collection, All the Stain is Tender, is set to follow

"Impressive... Yu remakes the art of writing itself." -Guardian

"Ambitious" -Daily Mail

"But the Girl is a vivid novel of consciousness with a delightful sense of play. Jessica Zhan Mei Yu writes with striking originality that combines the irreverent and the philosophical about the ambiguities and ambivalences of contemporary life. A wonderful new novel for a metamodern world." -Brandon Taylor, author of The Late Americans

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