Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Memoir
'A richly observed examination of grief, being an outsider and the healing power of art' – The Guardian
'One of the best nonfiction books about friendship ever, right up there with Patti Smith’s Just Kids’ – The Atlantic
When Hua Hsu first meets Ken in a Berkeley dorm room, he hates him. A frat boy with terrible taste in music, Ken seems exactly like everyone else. For Hua, who makes zines and haunts indie record shops, Ken represents all that he defines himself in opposition to – the mainstream. The only thing Hua, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, and Ken, whose Japanese American family has been in the US for generations, have in common is that, however they engage with it, American culture doesn’t seem to have a place for either of them.
But despite his first impressions, Hua and Ken become friends, a friendship built on late-night conversations over cigarettes, long drives along the California coast, and the successes and humiliations of everyday college life. And then violently, senselessly, Ken is gone, killed in a carjacking, not even three years after the day they first meet.
Capturing a coming-of-age cut short, and a portrait of a beautiful friendship, Stay True is a deeply moving and intimate memoir about growing up and moving through the world in search of meaning and belonging.
'A glorious, unforgettable book' - Patrick Radden Keefe
At once a coming-of-age memoir, a devastating elegy for a departed friend, and a mixtape of all the music and other shards of culture and experience that coalesce into an identity, Stay True is wildly original . . . A glorious, unforgettable book
Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Empire of Pain and Say Nothing
Impossible to put down . . . profoundly moving . . . a work of intellect, honesty and love
A remarkably moving account of male affection and grief