Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.
But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.
"The Chosen and the Beautiful finds Jordan fighting for her place in this Gatsby-adjacent world as an outsider, a plight that Vo illuminates in heartbreaking specificity."—TIME Magazine
“Enter Nghi Vo's lyrical, fever-dream spin, in which golf-playing heartbreaker Jordan Baker is a queer Vietnamese adoptee with a penchant for magic."—Oprah Daily
"What if The Great Gatsby except sexy star golfer Jordan Baker is a queer Vietnamese adoptee? And there's magic? You have our attention."—USA Today
"Turns Fitzgerald’s American classic on its head to present a world recognizable in outline, but brought to new life in imaginative detail. The Chosen and the Beautiful is magical, quite literally. In this Jazz Age New York, ghosts haunt mansion corridors, flappers drink special elixirs that make them float, and members of the elite have obtained their fame and fortune by selling their souls to demons. Vo’s razor sharp eye on social conventions, sexual politics, and personal desire, will delight, entertain, and make you entirely rethink the world of Jay Gatsby."—The Daily Beast
"A dazzling reckoning with the fragile and beguiling fantasies we conjure to make sense of the past. It is also a (re)vision of The Great Gatsby, a mesmerizing, fearless unravelling of a text at the heart of the American literary canon."—Ancillary Review of Books
“The Chosen and the Beautiful is the perfect reinvention of the classic summer reading list standby.”—The Week
“Vo’s prose is lush and extraordinarily detailed, and so reminiscent of Fitzgerald’s writing but somehow even more atmospheric and lyrical."—The Nerd Daily
"One of the buzziest fantasy releases of the month is an alternate universe adaptation of The Great Gatsby, keeping the dazzle of the 1920s while adding the challenges of being a queer Vietnamese adoptee. Plus, ghosts both metaphorical and perhaps literal."—Den of Geek
“Vo's resuscitation of Gatsby suggests comparisons with Jean Rhys's celebrated Wide Sargasso Sea . . . [both] brilliantly elevate less-central characters, adding depth and gravitas to women underdeveloped, overlooked . . . Vo creates an extraordinary multi-layered literary experience that both enriches and eclipses the overexposed original."—Shelf Awareness
"Nghi Vo has written us the adaptation of The Great Gatsby that we deserve: a sparkling novel of excess and over-indulgence told from Jordan Baker’s point of view."—Book Riot
"An utterly captivating series of speakeasies, back-seat trysts, parties both grand and intimate and romances both magical and mundane . . . Vo is a remarkable writer whose talent for reviving Fitzgerald’s style of prose is reminiscent of Susanna Clarke channeling Jane Austen in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. But it is Vo’s additions to Gatsby’s original plot that truly shine . . . [She] has transformed The Great Gatsby utterly."—BookPage (starred review)
“Nghi Vo's stellar transformation of The Great Gatsby recasts the 'careless' Jordan Baker as a woman of depth and sharpness, a socialite forced to live in the margins of others’ lives. In Vo’s telling, the glitter of Gatsby’s parties conceals a sinister struggle—one where the players must survive on charms both literal and figurative, and the line between the invented and the real is endlessly blurred. Like Jordan’s own paper creations, The Chosen and the Beautiful captivates with its artistry and its power.”—Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni
“The Chosen and the Beautiful is gorgeous and gripping, shining with language that shows us all the facets and dangers of yearning. Nghi Vo subverts and expands the possibilities of an American story, and magic is in the marrow of every sentence. I'm in awe of this book's expansive imagination and its exploration of what it means to discover desire, make your own myths, and define your belonging."—K-Ming Chang, author of Bestiary and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree
“Luxurious, thrilling, and sexy, Nghi Vo's debut novel dives into the world of The Great Gatsby and wears it like a second skin. A shapeshifter of a book that had me hypnotized from the first pages, The Chosen and the Beautiful brings new intensity to a story you thought you knew.”—Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire
“Decadent. Visual. Imaginative. Genius. Not enough words to praise this page-turning novel of sorcery, infernal compacts, and enchanted elixirs, in an altogether different 1920s New York. Nghi Vo snips apart, then magically weaves together a familiar story in a wholly original and decidedly unfamiliar way. Redo all the classics. And do them like this!”—P. Djèlí Clark, winner of the Alex, Locus, and Nebula Awards and author of Ring Shout
“A sumptuous novel that tangles with race, magic, sexuality, and class. Nghi Vo creates a world that drips with champagne and magic, where outsider’s views are the only ones that matter, and it's impossible to be sure who is or is not other. It’s bold to play in the realm of The Great Gatsby and Vo’s acerbic Jordan Baker is the perfect woman to do it.”—Erika Swyler, author of The Book of Speculation
“This book is Gatsby the way it should have been written–dark, dazzling, and fantastical. Of course Jordan Baker should have been the main character. Of course everyone should have been messing with magic. Vo has created a perfect response to Fitzgerald in tone, voice, and theme.”—R. F. Kuang, winner of the Astounding Award and author of The Poppy War
“The Chosen and the Beautiful is a subversive, sexy, atmospheric, sweltering, gin-soaked, Hell-haunted vision of Gatsby's New York, with prose that will pull you under. I loved it.”—Alix E. Harrow, winner of the Hugo Award and author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January
“Crisp as paper and delirious as a fever dream, this is a redrawn Gatsby daubed in gold leaf and lip rouge and blood. Nghi Vo gives a freshly imagined Jordan Baker her due, while infusing her glittering New York with a bottomless magical menace that feels both excitingly new and cosmically true to Fitzgerald’s original.”—Melissa Albert, The New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
“Nghi Vo’s perfectly honed prose embodies the intoxicating, knife-sharp dazzle of cruel wealth and hollow people. This book is as sharp and strange as the taste of a licked silver spoon—it’s breathtaking.”—Shelley Parker-Chan, author of She Who Became the Sun
“I adore this Jordan and her shimmering rage, the way it laces all her party glamour. It adds a queer vitality to this story that really resonates with me, her flamboyance being so rageful. The prose is like a bite of caramel that rips out your teeth. It's seething, creamy. It has a bloody taste.”—Hannah Abigail Clarke, bestselling author of The Scapegracers
“Vo has crafted a retelling that, in many ways, surpasses the original, adding logic and depth to characters’ motivations while still—uncannily—unspooling the familiar story. Astonishingly crafted, with luscious prose and appeal for both fans of the original and those who always felt The Great Gatsby missed the mark.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Vo remains an excellent stylist . . . Recommended for readers of Vo's previous shorter work or readers of historical fantasy in general."—Booklist
“Beloved for her 'Singing Hills Cycle' novellas, Vo goes ambitiously full-length with her tale of queer Vietnamese adoptee Jordan Baker, who uses magic to get what she wants in a 1920s Gatsby-like framework."—Library Journal
“Extraordinary . . . Vo’s immersive prose never ceases to captivate. The Gatsby-related details and hints of magic will keep readers spellbound from start to finish."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reviews from Goodreads
The wind came into the house from the Sound, and it blew Daisy and me around her East Egg mansion like puffs of dandelion seeds, like foam, like a pair of young women in white dresses who had no cares to weigh them...