“And he said something I would never forget. ‘The best fighter in tae kwon do never fights,’ he said. ‘He always finds another way.”
“White people still drive the narrative about Asian Americans. We have yet to have control over our own stories.”
“When it comes to writing the “other,” what questions are we not asking?”
The fantasies Alexander Chee had of New York before he moved there didn’t fully prepare him for what it was like to love the city.
A personal essay in which How to Write an Autobiographical Novel author Alexander Chee considers how answering the question, “What are you?” turned him into a writer.
When Alexander Chee’s father died at the age of 43 he didn’t leave behind a will, and his estate was divided among his wife and three children. When he turned 18, Chee was bequeathed a trust, and the first thing he bought was something he thought his father would want for him — a black Alfa Romeo.
Novelist Alexander Chee profiles Korean director Park Chan-wook as part of T: The New York Times Style Magazine‘s “The Greats” series, which also includes six other cover profiles: Roxane Gay on hip hop artist Nicki Minaj, Hanya Yanagihara on designer Dries Van Noten, Lin Manuel Miranda on lyricist Stephen Sondheim, Manohla Dargis on actor Amy Adams, Dave Eggers on writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Randy Kennedy on sculptor Claes Oldenburg.
Alexander Chee reflects on his affinity for gin and how over the years — in its various cocktail permutations alongside vermouth in martinis and negronis — it has more than kept him company, becoming “almost a travel companion.”
In creating a routine “entirely alien to his normal life,” Alexander Chee attempts a real vacation from his work as a writer. As he sketches his way around Sifnos, capturing both the “least famous” Greek island and his memories of it in a Moleskine notebook, he learns how to draw fresh strength to fuel his work.
When the New York Times asked authors to share stories of when love intersected with travel, Alexander Chee recalls a summer in Granada, Spain, with M. — his boyfriend at the time — who betrayed Chee at a local hammam. “He thought I wanted monogamy more than him, and I didn’t. And I couldn’t forgive that I didn’t get to choose.”