Chinese Gucci Review

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Review of Chinese Gucci by Hosho McCreesh


In Chinese Gucci, Hosho McCreesh is super successful at creating two things in particular: a strong story arc, and excruciating characters.  The actions from point A to B are compelling, suspenseful, and end up carrying a great deal of weight within the context of the story. The question is, can you tolerate the characters long enough to see how it all plays out?

The protagonist of Chinese Gucci, Akira, a stereotypically self-indulgent, spoiled millennial, who hates himself, is difficult to tolerate for over two-hundred pages. He disses almost everyone he meets, whether in his head or to their face, all because he is so insecure that he must project his shortcomings on everyone by assuming they’re either an idiot or an asshole. The meat of the book comes from Akira’s visits to Mexico to get knockoff purses which he then sells on eBay for designer prices. He flaunts his newfound wealth to impress his friends and the girl he has a crush on, all the while alienating everyone he comes in contact with, including quite possibly the reader.

Here’s the rub: you aren‘t meant to like Akira. This isn’t that story where the character realizes the error of their ways and saves the day. This is about a character who epically fails. It’s about that time in life, just beyond youth, where you’re not old enough to have a full scope of the consequences to your actions, but old enough for people to hold you accountable.  It’s about that first realization in the real world that you shouldn’t trust everyone and that the people you should keep closest are the ones who have cared all along. In some ways, the reader has to witness the crash and burn to appreciate what led to it.

Being accustomed to the “happily ever after” narrative, I became convinced three-fourths of the way through this book that, because so much awful, gross, illegal, and drunken events had occurred, McCreesh surely will try to redeem his main character. Let’s just say, I was surprised, and completely satisfied by the end. The writing to describe the events throughout the book is very clear and matter of fact. From the trips to Mexico, the dates with Akira’s crush, to the blackout boozing sessions, which included the protagonist face planting into a pool filled with dangerous chemicals, McCreesh really brings the essence of each moment to the surface, without trying to impose an agenda. The author doesn’t hold your hand, so there’s more responsibility for you as the reader to take the journey and make of the outcome what you will.

While Chinese Gucci may be hard for some readers to endure, it’s a well-told story with plenty of twists and turns. The characters can be insufferable, but so can human beings. You may not connect with them on every level, and the things you recognize might make you cringe, but that’s what an honest book does. It doesn’t ask you to enjoy it, but it does demand attention and reflection. 




Hosho McCreesh is currently writing & painting in the gypsum & caliche badlands of the American Southwest. His work has appeared widely in print, audio & online.

Benjamin DeVos is the author of Lord of the Game (Apocalypse Party, 2017), The Bar Is Low (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018) and the forthcoming novella Human Fish (Eraserhead Press, 2019). He is the head editor of Apocalypse Party and lives in Philadelphia.