FACE (Warner Books, 1994)

"Aimee Liu is a born storyteller"

"Authentic in every detail... should attract not only readers with Asian interests, but everyone concerned with the changing qualities of American life today."


A Barnes & Noble
"Discover Great New Writers" selection

Aimee's first novel is now back in print!


FACE is a searing story about the pain of being different and about the inescapable, often destructive hold of the past.
Growing up in Chinatown, Maibelle Chung felt like an outsider, being only one-fourth Chinese. Her mother was a Midwestern farm girl who fled to New York seeking culture and sophistication; there she married Joe Chung, a photojournalist whose horrifying pictures of China in the 1940s made him famous. Joe abruptly gave up his photographic career -- to his wife's eternal disappointment -- for reasons that Maibelle only gradually discovers. She is a photographer, too, but feels torn about her vocation. Now she finds herself agreeing, almost unwillingly, to collaborate on a book about Chinatown with a childhood friend. While Maibelle works on the project, she also delves into her family history. As her research comes closer and closer to painful truths, the novel creates a haunting atmosphere of restless, unhappy searching and drifting, heightened by an underlying tone of dread.
-New York Times, October 1994

Aimee Liu's first novel exquisitely depicts Maibelle's slow coming to terms with the forces that made her, in a story that is part psychological drama, part rite of passage, part literary exploration of being racially divided, and part mystery.
The protagonist in this type of novel has the difficult job of carrying the entire book squarely on her shoulders, a feat Liu accomplishes easily. We are so much a part of Maibelle's inner life, so intimate with her pain and frustration, that while readers may root for her to find the truth, there is also a nervous sensation of not really wanting to know. Through Maibelle, Chinatown becomes a scary, shiny, complicated place where everyone holds some kind of horrific secret.
- Los Angeles Times, January, 1995

Liu's impressive fiction debut expresses the mingled fear and discomfort with which a woman confronts her heritage -- both as a Chinese-American and as the daughter of a renowned wartime photographer... Liu gets to the heart of the tale when Maibelle calls the old Chinese custom of footbinding "torture," and a friend replies that "in China passion and pain could not be separated." Liu's lyrical prose is graceful and evocative.
- Publisher's Weekly, August, 1994

The power of this enchanting debut novel lies in the evanescence of reality and the stealth of truth. Over a decade after she went public with her account of anorexia nervosa (SOLITAIRE) Liu breaks into fiction with the story of a young woman's search for identity in a complex maze of fact, fiction, nightmares, dreams, history, fantasy, hope, lies, and loss... All the pieces of the heroine's disjointed history create a beautiful mess that comes together at the last moment. Delicate, lyrical, mysterious.
- Kirkus, July, 1994

below for more about Aimee's books & work.

Anthologies of fiction and nonfiction that Aimee has edited or contributed to.
a suspenseful novel of rescue and redemption set in Central Asia at the start of the Cold War, featuring two unforgettable heroines whose fates are irrevocably intertwined.
The unforgettable tale of star-crossed love that spans four decades and two continents.
A young photographer wrestles with her repressed past and identity as an Amerasian in New York's Chinatown. Now back in print after more than a decade, FACE is Aimee's first novel.
Work on Eating Disorders
While there are numerous memoirs available chronicling individual women’s struggles with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, this is the first book to bring together many people’s stories to create a complete and candid picture of the recovery process. Aimee Liu has skillfully brought together firsthand accounts of recovery to create a realistic roadmap for the journey. This book also includes informational sidebars, written by professionals in the field, on topics including treatment options, choosing the right therapist, the pros and cons of medication, how parents and spouses can help, and much more.
How do anorexia and bulimia impact life AFTER recovery? GAINING is one of the first books about eating disorders to connect the latest scientific insights to the personal truth of life before, during, and especially after anorexia and bulimia.
America's first memoir of anorexia, and one of the earliest books about eating disorders, originally published in 1979
Craft & Criticism
Resources and suggestions for students and fellow writers
Aimee's latest book reviews