The Good Asian, Vol. 1

  • Type: Books
  • By: Pornsak Pichetshote
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Graphic Novels
  • Recommended by: Lauren C.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9781534320949
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An educational and engaging noir mystery in graphic novel form

An excellent noir mystery about a detective hunting a killer in Chinatown, San Francisco, while being haunted by ghosts from his past. This graphic novel is made additionally complex by having an Asian protagonist in the extra-racist 1930’s.

I learned a lot about how abominably Asians were treated. The historical notes at the end of this graphic novel present additional context this historical fiction story. 

Until reading this #OwnVoices story, I was not aware of the many racist decisions the Supreme Court had made across its history, such as in 1854 when they basically ruled that Asians were subhuman without rights and therefore couldn’t testify in court against Whites, (which basically signalled open-season on Asians), the 1922 case where they decided that Asians aren’t White and therefore can’t become citizens, the 1923 case where they decided that Indians are technically Caucasian, but too tan to actually be treated White, so they also became ineligible for citizenship too. These facts are something I don’t remember learning about in school. Unexpectedly, reading about these travesties by our highest court was a bit heartening in a way—proof that people who are supposed to deliver our highest caliber of justice sometimes make horrifically unjust decisions, but that those decisions can be undone or rectified. It takes time, but things can improve. We can learn from our mistakes. 

Overall, an educational, engaging and dark read. If you are a fan of noir detective novels like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, give this graphic novel a try!