Churn: An Illustrated Novel-in-Stories (Paperback)

Churn: An Illustrated Novel-in-Stories By Chloe Chun Seim, Chloe Chun Seim (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Chloe Chun Seim, Chloe Chun Seim (Illustrator)
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Winner of The 2022 George Garrett Fiction Prize, selected by Vi Khi Nao

Siblings Jordan and Chung face a costly existence on their family’s Kansas farm. On a conciliatory trip once again turned violent, Jordan and Chung escape the chaos of their parents’ fighting to the middle of a lake. When something pulls them under, a voice speaks to them. In their long trudge back to the living, they find their chemistries altered. Jordan breathes smoke when angry. Chung flops like a fish out of water when provoked. In the years following, they navigate their parents’ separation, their father’s alcoholism and mother’s growing paranoia. In adulthood, Jordan and Chung grieve, love, and come into their own. From the plains of rural Kansas to hundred-acre towns, the end of the universe to its primordial breath, Churn mines the uncanny to tell a story of rural Kansas like you’ve never seen before.

About the Author

CHLOE CHUN SEIM’s writing has appeared in LitMag, Potomac Review, McNeese Review, Split Lip Magazine, and Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others. She won the 2021 Anton Chekov Award for Flash Fiction. She earned her BFA in Art History from the University of Kansas and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Chloe lives in Lawrence, KS.

Praise For…
— Kirkus Reviews

“Astro-biologically capacious and hypnotically drawn, Churn is a luminous, dense star that collapses upon itself in order to expand into its ever widening, swelling, coming-of-age, lacunal sphere, its complex, difficult futurehood. Taking within its magnetic, compelling, centrifugal, childhood/adolescent cosmos, the work presents the queerest, the quasi-Asianest, the farmest-agriculture of semi-Korean-shaded familial grief (maternal torture and paternal despair) and inexorable divorce and intransigent abuse and damage and dysfunctionality in the most poly-monochromatic fashion. Poly-narratological in its perspectives, Churn seeks closure and fearlessness through magical visibility and accountability from pre-pandemic compulsions right into the heart of Covid culture. Designed to hold the readers hostage, it is a spell-binding book, rich in art and emotional, lacustrine, interstellar, eccentric, gay materials. An indispensable antidote to hopelessness.”
Vi Khi Nao, contest judge, author of Funeral
— Vi Khi Nao

“Written in prose by turns stark, playful, and inventive, Churn paints a bittersweet and emotionally gripping portrait of two siblings as they navigate violence, bigotry, inherited trauma, and moments of glittering joy. In both her writing and her illustrations, Seim deftly captures the feeling of a family in descent, and how the smallest discoveries—a talent for art, a glimpse at a better future—can become a foundation for survival. Churn is one of the best books about life in Kansas I’ve ever read. This one will stay with me.”
Becky Mandelbaum, author of The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals
— Becky Mandelbaum

“I can’t remember ever having read a book like this. Every story in Churn will move you, surprise you, keep you on your toes. Chloe Seim is a writer of gargantuan talent, and this wonderful debut is all the proof of that we could ask for.”
Robert Long Foreman, author of Weird Pig, Among Other Things, and I am Here to Make Friends
— Robert Long Foreman

“A dazzling debut from an explosive and versatile writer. Seim’s prose will incinerate you with its memorable characters and fearless tackling of Korean-American identity, coming of age while poor in rural Kansas, and the mythical—borderline supernatural—way some children metabolize the legacy of family and environmental traumas they inherit…and are forced to continually confront it in adulthood. Equal parts protest and fairy tale, Churn is unapologetic and fiercely creative. Authentic and innovative. Not a book you want to miss!”
Tara Stillions Whitehead, author of They More Than Burned
— Tara Stillions Whitehead

“Chloe Seim’s Churn triumphantly reimagines the American west in the Gameboy era. The daughter of an alcoholic, Kansas-born father and a South Korean mother, Jordan believes, ‘The country had given me every good thing in my life.’ And yet, like the homesteaders in Willa Cather’s My Antonia, Jordan and her brother Chung must fight to preserve that goodness amid the harsh realities of plains life and their own tumultuous family history. It’s a searing and original portrait from a bright new voice in American literature.”
Whitney Terrell, author of The Good Lieutenant, The King of Kings County, and The Huntsman
— Whitney Terrell
Product Details
ISBN: 9781680033496
ISBN-10: 1680033492
Publisher: Texas Review Press
Publication Date: January 24th, 2024
Pages: 185
Language: English