Author of East-West novels and all sorts of nonfiction, ghostwriter, MFA advisor, former painter… and current photopainter!

Image by Carolyn Hall Young

If you love novels about Americans in Asia and Asians in America and the families that form between them, you may have read my fiction. In the 1990s I published two novels, Face and Cloud Mountain, based on my family’s mixed-race history and my examination of my own Chinese-American identity.

Then I shifted my focus to Americans in India, where my first memories were formed during the years my family lived in New Delhi, way back in the 1950s. My 2003 novel Flash House was inspired by my mother’s musing about the risks my father had run flying all over…


Excerpt from the novel Glorious Boy

“The most memorable and original novel I’ve read in ages.” — Pico Iyer

“For readers who are unafraid to be swept away” — STARRED review in Booklist

“Riveting… a fascinating, irresistible marvel.” — STARRED review, Library Journal

Photo by Aimee Liu

Glorious Boy is a tale of war and devotion set in India’s remote Andaman Islands before and during WWII. …

Learning to Embrace the Consoling Power of Coincidence

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I kept a large green votive candle burning as a form of prayer during the last six months of my niece’s life. The eldest of my brother’s four daughters, Amelia was only thirty-six. She’d spent her last decade tending, advising, loving, supervising, and comforting teens in a group home of last resort, and she had a toddler of her own. Now fighting a virulent form of breast cancer, Amelia was always in my thoughts, even though I rarely saw her in person.

She lived in San Diego, just two hours away from me, but she didn’t invite me to visit…

From meditative thesis novel to Book of the Month

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When you teach creative writing, few joys can compare with the publication of a student’s first book. When that book is a grand success, pride and awe add to the ride. JoAnne Tompkins’s debut novel, ‘What Comes After’, is enjoying just such a launch. Even before its publication, it received rave advance reviews. The New York Times called it a “nail-biting wallop of a debut.” The Washington Post described it as a “gritty meditation on loss and redemption, drenched in stillness and grief.” Oprah listed it as one of the most anticipated books of 2021. And the Book of the…


A progress report after four months of intermittent fasting

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I just received my best cholesterol results in six years, which is as far back as my current doctor’s medical records go. They’ve improved by more than 10% just since last year. And my triglyceride levels have dropped by a whopping 26%! I’ve made only one change to my lifestyle that could possibly explain this dramatic shift.

Fifteen weeks ago, I started intermittent fasting — consuming nothing but plain tea, coffee, and water for sixteen hours each day. (If you’re curious, you can read about my first two months here.) I do all my eating in the eight hours between…


Catastrophic release dates are increasing, so what are we going to do about them?

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Last spring was reportedly the worst season for book sales in publishing history — especially for fiction like my latest novel, published in May. The losses outstripped those of 2003’s Shock and Awe period, the publishing vortex into which my third novel plunged. In fact, early pandemic releases tanked almost as precipitously as novels published on 9/11.

The situation was especially dire for small-press books and fiction by emerging authors. According to the New York Times, “The pandemic altered how readers discover and buy books, and drove sales for celebrities and best-selling authors while new and lesser known writers struggled…


Humanity and empathy are achievement goals, too

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“Just as people now see the value of exercising the body consistently and for the rest of their life, it’s similar with emotional skills.” — Richard Davidson, University of Wisconsin

Something is wrong with American education, and that something has everything to do with America’s definition of success. Today, as schools open back up and students resume classes together for the first time in a year, I wonder if the pandemic reset will extend to the goals of education itself.

This need for revision long predates COVID. I saw it most glaringly on display several years ago when I visited…


A novel by Michael Ondaatje

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Can anything move us more than the yearning for security and the dread of losing forever the person who knows and loves us best? The greatest novels harness this emotional engine, often through heartbreaking plots that separate children from their parents. Some double down on the tension by employing a Great Divider, such as plague or war.

I gained a new appreciation for the power of the Great Divider in Michael Ondaatje’s most recent novel, Warlight.

Here’s the opening line:

In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals.

Pandemic Reflections

Was our grief an omen?

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One year ago this week, I returned from a conference in San Antonio to learn that a dear friend had died. The news shocked me. I hadn’t known that G was diagnosed with cancer six months earlier. Now her funeral was in just a few hours. I had to go. But I’d spent the past week drenching my hands in sanitizer and greeting friends with elbow bumps, worrying about crowded spaces, wondering if I’d been exposed to COVID at the conference or during the flights to Texas and back to L.A. …


It’s not always automatic

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Many years ago, while writing a book on infant development, I found myself in a research lab, watching an unforgettable scene between a woman and her newborn baby. The mother’s face was right up against her child’s, and the baby was squirming, squinching, turning, clearly desperate to pull away. Yet the mother just kept coming closer, intent on kissing, nuzzling, closing the gap that her newborn so desperately needed to widen.

That scene taught me that mother-child bonding is not always automatic. Just because you give birth to a baby does not mean that you and your newborn are on…

Aimee Liu

Aimee Liu is the bestselling author of novels, most recently Glorious Boy, and nonfiction about eating disorders, wellness and psychology. More@

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