Publication date: June 7, 2022
Publisher: William Morrow
Hardcover: 288 Pages
For fans of Hustlers and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, the story of two Asian American women who band together to grow a counterfeit handbag scheme into a global enterprise—an incisive and glittering blend of fashion, crime, and friendship from the author of Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners.
Money can’t buy happiness… but it can buy a decent fake.
Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home—she’s built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava’s world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn’t been used in years, and her toddler’s tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point.
Enter Winnie Fang, Ava’s enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business—someone who’d never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences.
Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life.
About the author
Kirstin Chen is the New York Times best-selling author of three novels. Her latest, Counterfeit, out now from William Morrow/HarperCollins (US) and The Borough Press (UK), is the June ’22 Reese’s Book Club pick.Born and raised in Singapore, she lives in San Francisco.
Read more about Kirsten ON HER WEBSITE
“A startling, gleeful look at the American Dream and what counts as real in a world obsessed with image, this caper story follows two very different Chinese American women as they build a fake fashion empire that then threatens to come crashing down. Chen’s use of story structure is masterful, as are her complicated, compelling characters.” — Grace D. Li, Washington Post
“A con artist story, a pop-feminist caper, a fashionable romp. Fun! Pass the popcorn. Except nothing in this novel is what it seems. Make no mistake, Counterfeit is an entertaining, luxurious read—but beneath its glitz and flash, it is also a shrewd deconstruction of the American dream and the myth of the model minority. . . . Readers love a twist and I won’t spoil this one by revealing too much, but Chen is up to something innovative and subversive here. She uses the device to flip Asian and Asian American stereotypes inside out and upside down.” — Camille Perri, New York Times Book Review
“If you appreciate a good caper, you’ll want to pick up Kirstin Chen’s novel about two Asian American women who turn a counterfeit handbag scheme into a big business. The book is written as a confession, which helps readers get to know protagonists Ava and Winnie, and how their lives detoured toward crime. Counterfeit is fast-paced and fun, with smart commentary on the cultural differences between Asia and America.” — Time magazine, Best Books of Summer 2022
“Propulsive and captivating . . . A provocative story of fashion, friendship, and fakes (in more ways than one), with characters that both subvert and capitalize on the model-minority myth. No surprise that the sly feminist caper was the subject of a fierce eight-way bidding war for TV rights.” — Vogue, The Best Books of 2022
“College roommates Ava Wong and Winnie Fang were never close—but now they are literally partners in crime, with a designer handbag scam as brazen as it is foolproof. Clever, catty fun.” — People, Best Books of Summer 2022
“Centered on two women who partner on a global counterfeit luxury handbag business. I always wish there was more fashion in novels . . . My fun read of early summer!” — Kathy Wang, Entertainment Weekly
“This one’s as flashy as a designer store window, and just as enticing.” — Good Housekeeping
“In this crime drama, a risk-averse former lawyer joins an elaborate fakebag scheme to finally get some thrills.” — Cosmopolitan