World Famous Love Acts
StorieseBook - 2004
"An entire book of good stories. . . . [Leung] gains trust the old-fashioned way--through confidence, craftsmanship and compassion. There are no shortcuts here, no tricks or gimmicks, no glib patinas to conceal weak underpinnings. . . . This is a book about loss, twined irrevocably with hope, a hope that surges below the surface of all life. . . . Read [it] and see a bold new writer making himself vulnerable on the page. He gives us all hope."--Chris Offutt
Sweeping and fearless, World Famous Love Acts overrides stereotypes of race, age, gender, and sexuality. In this remarkable debut collection, Brian Leung creates a diverse landscape of distinctive characters. Among them, a 4' 10" hyperblonde Asian adult-film actress in Los Angeles, an archeologist working in China with her sun-scarred skin, a Midwestern screenwriter trying to "burn off" his accent, and a man with AIDS waiting to go home to die.
Loneliness and a persistent reach for meaning and comfort hold all these characters together. In "Six Ways to Jump off a Bridge," a Chinese egg-farmer confronts the solitude of old age after learning yet another person has made a suicidal jump from the bridge overlooking his home. In "Executing Dexter," two young boys from broken homes invent ways to torture and kill handmade dolls. And "Leases" takes place during "the time of morning to choose names for babies that will never be born" as a man waits to meet his wife in an apartment where for years he has brought male lovers.
Brian Leung writes like a true anthropologist, as both passionate outsider and gifted empath. His prose is crafted but genuine, both controlled and embracing. There seem to be no shoes he won't try on as he poignantly brings to life the search for a world of rescue and absolution.
Born to a Chinese father and Euro-American mother, Brian Leung is a native of California, where he is now an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge. He received an M.F.A in creative writing from Indiana University.