Episode 454: Exploring Themes of Grief and Loneliness in a Neo-Noir Speculative Novel — Interview with Jinwoo Chong

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Today, Lori is interviewing Jinwoo Chong. They’ll be talking about themes of loss and disconnection and how they relate to his book Flux.

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Correction: During the interview, the author mistakenly identifies butter chicken or murgh makhni as a British dish invented in the UK by Indian immigrants. He later clarified that butter chicken was in fact invented in New Delhi. Chicken tikka masala is actually the British dish.

In this episode Jinwoo Chong and Lori discuss:

  • Immigration as synthesis.
  • What it means to blend speculative fiction and neo-noir genres
  • How the immigrant experience helped to shape his book.

Plus, his #1 tip for writers.

About Jinwoo Chong

Jinwoo Chong is the author of the novel Flux, coming March 21, 2023 from Melville House. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Florida Review, CRAFT, and Salamander.

He received the Oran Robert Perry Burke Award for Fiction from The Southern Review and a special mention in the 2022 Pushcart Prize anthology, as well as recognition from The Sewanee Review, Tin House and Zoetrope: All-Story.

He received an MFA from Columbia University and is an editorial assistant at One Story.

You can find him on his website or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.


A blazingly original and stylish debut novel about a young man whose reality unravels when he suspects his employers have inadvertently discovered time travel and are covering up a string of violent crimes.

Four days before Christmas, 8-year-old Bo loses his mother in a tragic accident, 28-year-old Brandon loses his job after a hostile takeover of his big-media employer, and 48-year-old Blue, a key witness in a criminal trial against an infamous now-defunct tech startup, struggles to reconnect with his family.

So begins Jinwoo Chong’s dazzling, time-bending and surreal literary debut that blends elements of neo-noir and speculative fiction as the lives of the lives of Bo, Brandon and Blue begin to intersect, uncovering a vast network of secrets and an experimental technology that threatens to upend life itself. Intertwined with them is the saga of an iconic 80s detective show, Raider, whose star actor has imploded spectacularly after revelations of long-term, concealed abuse.

Flux is a haunting and sometimes shocking exploration of the cyclical nature of grief, of moving past trauma, and of the pervasive nature of whiteness within the development of Asian identity in America.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link where, if you choose to purchase via the link, DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 454

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