ABOUT THE HANGING ON UNION SQUARE
A subversively comic, genre-bending satire of bourgeois life by an essential Chinese American voice
A Penguin Classic
It’s Depression-era New York, and Mr. Nut, an oblivious American everyman, wants to strike it rich, even if at the moment he’s unemployed, with no job prospects in sight. Over the course of a single night, in a narrative that unfolds hour by hour, he meets a cast of strange characters—disgruntled workers at a Communist cafeteria, lecherous old men, sexually exploited women, pesky authors—who eventually convince him to cast off his bourgeois aspirations for upward mobility and become a radical activist. Absurdist, inventive, and suffused with revolutionary fervor, and culminating in a dramatic face-off against capitalist power in the figure of the greedy businessman Mr. System, The Hanging on Union Square is a work of blazing wit and originality. More than eighty years after it was self-published, having been rejected by dozens of baffled publishers, it has become a classic of Asian American literature—a satirical send-up of class politics and capitalism and a shout of populist rage that still resonates today.