Even without having much personal K Pop knowledge, I was completely hooked by the fallen-from-grace pop star and his unlikely host. I loved it because the experience felt so real for the cultural moment we're in. Balancing sensitivity and cancel culture for celebrities and icons continues to get more complex, and Ma-Kellams navigates it beautifully here. — Sarah Catherine, Snail Readers Circle
“This could very well be the first great K-Pop literary phenomenon.” —Debutiful, Most Anticipated Books of 2024
Perfect for fans of Mouth to Mouth and Black Buck, this whip-smart, darkly funny, and biting debut follows a psychologist with a savior complex who offers shelter to a recently cancelled K-pop idol on the run.
Sang Duri is the eldest member and “visual” of a Korean boy band at the apex of global superstardom. But when his latest solo single accidentally leads to controversy, he’s abruptly cancelled.
To spare the band from fallout with obsessive fans and overbearing management, Duri disappears from the public eye by hiding out in the McMansion of a Chinese American woman he meets in a Los Angeles H-Mart. But his rescuer is both unhappily married with children and a psychologist with a savior complex, a combination that makes their potential union both seductive and incredibly problematic.
Meanwhile, Duri’s cancellation catapults not only a series of repressed memories from his music producer’s earlier years about the original girl group whose tragic disbanding preceded his current success, but also a spiral of violent interactions that culminates in an award show event with reverberations that forever change the fates of both the band members and the music industry.
In its indicting portrayal of mental health and public obsession, fandom, and cancel culture, The Band considers the many ways in which love and celebrity can devolve into something far more sinister when their demands are unmet.
About the Author
Christine Ma-Kellams is a Harvard-trained cultural psychologist, Pushcart-nominated fiction writer, and first-generation American. Her work and writing have appeared in HuffPost, Chicago Tribune, Catapult, Salon, The Wall Street Journal, The Rumpus, and much more. The Band is her first novel. You can find her in person at one of California’s coastal cities or online at ChristineMa-Kellams.com.
"Ma-Kellams takes readers on a gripping exploration of the complexities that accompany fame...This darkly humorous novel examines the more sinister aspects of celebrity and the profound impact it can have on the individuals caught up in global stardom. As K-pop has become a worldwide sensation, this timely book provides a different perspective on societal pressures associated with fame and the dangerous toll they can take on a person’s mental health."—Booklist
"This could very well be the first great K-Pop literary phenomenon. Expect a stylized, pop culture romp."—Debutiful, Most Anticipated Books of 2024
"Equal parts academic and cheeky, Christine Ma-Kellams' debut novel The Band is the perfect companion for brainy pop culture heads, my people." —Anna Dorn, author of Exalted