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Counterfeit
Cover of Counterfeit
Counterfeit
A Novel
Borrow Borrow

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

  • A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK

    "A con artist story, a pop-feminist caper, a fashionable romp . . . Counterfeit is an entertaining, luxurious read—but beneath its glitz and flash, it is also a shrewd deconstruction of the American dream and the myth of the model minority. . . . Chen is up to something innovative and subversive here." — Camille Perri, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

    Recommended by New York Times Book Review

  • Washington Post
  • People
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • USA Today
  • Time
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Today show
  • Harper's Bazaar
  • Vogue
  • Good Housekeeping
  • Parade
  • New York Post
  • Town & Country
  • GMA.com
  • Buzzfeed
  • Goodreads
  • Oprah Daily
  • Popsugar
  • Bustle
  • theSkimm
  • The Millions
  • and more!

    For fans of Hustlers and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, the story of two Asian American women who band together to grow a counterfeit handbag scheme into a global enterprise—an incisive and glittering blend of fashion, crime, and friendship from the author of Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners.

    Money can't buy happiness... but it can buy a decent fake.

    Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home—she's built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava's world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn't been used in years, and her toddler's tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point.

    Enter Winnie Fang, Ava's enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business—someone who'd never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences.

    Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life.

    "If you appreciate a good caper, you'll want to pick up Kirstin Chen's novel . . . Fast-paced and fun, with smart commentary on the cultural differences between Asia and America." — TIME

    "Propulsive and captivating . . . A provocative story of fashion, friendship, and fakes (in more ways than one)." — VOGUE

  • INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

  • A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK

    "A con artist story, a pop-feminist caper, a fashionable romp . . . Counterfeit is an entertaining, luxurious read—but beneath its glitz and flash, it is also a shrewd deconstruction of the American dream and the myth of the model minority. . . . Chen is up to something innovative and subversive here." — Camille Perri, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

    Recommended by New York Times Book Review

  • Washington Post
  • People
  • Entertainment Weekly
  • USA Today
  • Time
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Today show
  • Harper's Bazaar
  • Vogue
  • Good Housekeeping
  • Parade
  • New York Post
  • Town & Country
  • GMA.com
  • Buzzfeed
  • Goodreads
  • Oprah Daily
  • Popsugar
  • Bustle
  • theSkimm
  • The Millions
  • and more!

    For fans of Hustlers and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, the story of two Asian American women who band together to grow a counterfeit handbag scheme into a global enterprise—an incisive and glittering blend of fashion, crime, and friendship from the author of Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners.

    Money can't buy happiness... but it can buy a decent fake.

    Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home—she's built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava's world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn't been used in years, and her toddler's tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point.

    Enter Winnie Fang, Ava's enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business—someone who'd never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences.

    Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life.

    "If you appreciate a good caper, you'll want to pick up Kirstin Chen's novel . . . Fast-paced and fun, with smart commentary on the cultural differences between Asia and America." — TIME

    "Propulsive and captivating . . . A provocative story of fashion, friendship, and fakes (in more ways than one)." — VOGUE

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    About the Author-
    • Kirstin Chen is the author of Soy Sauce for Beginners and Bury What We Cannot Take. She has received fellowships and awards from the Steinbeck Fellows Program, Sewanee, Hedgebrook, Djerassi, the Napa Valley Writers' Conference, the Toji Cultural Foundation, and the National Arts Council of Singapore. She teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco and in Ashland University's Low-Residency MFA Program. Born and raised in Singapore, she currently lives in San Francisco.
    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      April 4, 2022
      Chen (Bury What We Cannot Take) spins a clever tale offering two sides of a story involving a complicated friendship and knockoff handbags. When Ava Wong’s former Stanford roommate Winnie Fang reenters her hectic San Francisco life, 20 years after graduation, Ava is the frazzled mother of a tantrum-prone two-year-old, married to a prominent surgeon, and on hiatus from a tax law career she can’t stand. Winnie, on the other hand, has gone from nerd to gorgeous—and she’s clearly rich. Ava, whose marriage is on the rocks, is dazzled by her friend’s physical and financial makeover, then finds out it’s all courtesy of a luxury handbag counterfeit scheme. While Ava is on an impulsive trip visiting family in Hong Kong, her husband cancels her credit and debit cards—leading Ava to reluctantly work with Winnie, whose goods come from China. The novel’s second half picks up with Winnie’s point of view, in which Ava is characterized as scheming and manipulative, making canny moves such as leaving a cellphone at a friend’s house to secure an alibi while trafficking contraband. Readers face a choice: whose perception is real—and whose is counterfeit? The story is further deepened by the author’s sharp, convincing details of the fashion industry and its shadow market, which lends this tale of fakes the tang of authenticity. Readers will be left guessing at the truth until the last page.

    • Library Journal

      September 1, 2022

      Chen's (Bury What We Cannot Take) third novel is the best sort of story to experience in audio. This twisty tale is presented as a confessional, as Chinese American lawyer Ava reveals her part in a lucrative counterfeit handbag scheme. Winnie Fang, Ava's former roommate who left Stanford in disgrace, returns to San Francisco and involves Ava in a plot to sell fake designer handbags. When the handbag scheme blows up, however, Winnie leaves Ava to face punishment alone. Narrated by Catherine Ho, Ava's voice is tinged with exactly the right amount of bewilderment, making her seem logical, innocent, and contrite. Ho makes the listener believe that this incident was an out-of-character misadventure that could lead Ava toward a better relationship with her son, a stronger bond with her husband, and a refreshed approach to her work. Both text and narration hint that more secrets await, but listeners will wonder whether these have been hidden from fear, embarrassment, or nefariousness. VERDICT Listeners will be completely invested in Ava's story, wondering whether she is truly meant for a settled, if boring, life or if a different sort of happiness awaits.--Matthew Galloway

      Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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