This City is a Minefield is the debut book from Aaron Chan, a collection of reflective memoir and personal essays told from a genuine and unique voice about growing up and coming of age as a young gay Chinese man in Vancouver.
Soulful and intimate, Aaron Chan’s debut slips us between lives. By turns comic and wrenching, This City Is a Minefield is the remembrance of an ongoing search; in unanticipated ways, in revelatory moments, he finds ways to both survive in, and reimagine, our world. — Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing; winner of the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award (Canada)
Aaron Chan’s voice is both tender and commanding as he leads you through This City Is A Minefield. Sit with him in front of his parents ‘70s Zenith console TV to watch Chinese soap operas or follow him through the steam-filled maze of a gay bathhouse. Wherever he takes you, he does with unflinching openness. A captivating debut—I’ll follow Chan anywhere. — Amber Dawn, author of How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir
This City Is a Minefield is a well-considered and insightful rumination on Vancouver — one that both challenges and confirms its reality as a city that is multicultural in its makeup, but haunted by an enduring legacy of white hegemony, publicly, privately, and sexually. Aaron Chan’s voice is one that we urgently need, and thankfully have, in the form of this critical new memoir.” — Wayde Compton, author of The Outer Harbour
In This City Is a Minefield, Aaron Chan has drawn an honest, moving portrait of what it means to live and grow up as a ”third-culture” kid in Vancouver’s Cantonese and gay communities – and what it means to feel never Canadian enough, never Chinese enough, and never beautiful enough to love and be loved. In crisp, spare prose, Chan strikes familiar notes in the Asian diasporic narrative while adding his own distinctive counterpoint meditations on the meaning of purpose, desire, and beauty. This is a lasting contribution to the growing canon of Asian queer literature, and a must-read for all of us who have struggled to know the meaning of home. — Kai Cheng Thom, author of I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes From the End of the World