2018 fiction finalist
Scott Shibuya Brown | The Traders
About the author
Scott Shibuya Brown is the author of the novel Far Afield (Red Hen Press, 2010), and a former staff journalist at Time Magazine and The Los Angeles Times. His reporting, reviews, and photos also have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, The Kartika Review and The LA Weekly, among other publications. He has an MFA in Writing from CalArts and currently teaches at California State University, Northridge. He lives in Los Angeles and is currently working on a novel set in 1950s Japan.
About the book
The Traders takes place in 1974 in the fictitious Southeast Asian nation of Tandomon, where an aging used bookseller pretends to have been the close friend of a famous writer currently the subject of a posthumous literary study. The deceit, undertaken via correspondence, becomes harder to sustain when the pompous American professor writing the study arrives in Tandomon to meet his “valuable contributor.” And matters get further complicated when the bookseller in the course of his own research discovers some disturbing facts about his “former friend” and “notable writer.”
Scott Brown is an (as yet) unsung hero of contemporary American letters: subversive, hilarious, his gaze unsparing. Read him and your universe will expand--as you laugh out loud. He tackles big topics with a microscopic lens, inimitably blending the personal with the political. Brown's latest work, The Traders, is a rollicking take on the misplaced ambitions of one Cecil Po, a bookseller in the fictitious Asian country of Tandomon. Told in his inimitable, oddly insightful voice, we are privileged to witness the outlandish skewering and exalting of literary ambitions, including his own. To what lengths will Po go to ensure his legacy? Read this delightful tale of loss and belonging to find out. — Cristina Garcia
Best novel about a bookseller since Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop. Scott Shibuya Brown’s The Traders features an honest and no-holds barred narrator, tons of energy and comedy in the prose, and wonderfully odd details. A genuine and unexpected pleasure. — Peter Orner