by Emily X.R. Pan

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.


About the Author

Emily X.R. Pan currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was originally born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. She received her MFA in fiction from the NYU Creative Writing Program, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Bodega Magazine, and a 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi. The Astonishing Color of After is her first novel. Visit Emily online at, and find her on Twitter and Instagram.




Point of (Re)views

"I loved these characters. They didn't feel shallow or flat at all. They felt real and that's so important for me in any work of fiction. They weren't perfect. They had flaws, they made mistakes but they were beautiful for that very reason."
—Emmi, Emmi Rose Reads

"This story was so beautiful and is truly perfect as it paints a life of grief, complicated family relationships, and the secrets we hide, even from those we love and trust."
—Kathleen, Read Forever More

"I have many family members who don’t know English, and I can understand how difficult it can be to have that language barrier, even though you want to try so hard to communicate with them. I loved having that connection with Leigh, it made the book feel personal to me."
—Naheid, Absolutely Peach Reviews

"If you're looking for a wonderfully diverse novel with fantastic Chinese-American representation as well as artistic writing, be sure to check this one out."
—Alice, Arctic Books

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