Look Who’s Morphing by Tom Cho


[Edit: Originally published July 20, 2018]

Look Who’s Morphing is a short story collection that follows a Chinese Australian central protagonist, and often various members of their family, through a series of strange events such as seeing themself displaced by a Caucasian man named Bruce and having to help their Auntie Wei after she is possessed by a demon when she puts on a apron with fake breasts on it. 

Something I enjoy about these stories is their ability to make the uncanny come across as commonplace. Never once did I stop reading and go, “That’s weird,” I would read a section like, “I say goodbye to my auntie and uncle and turn to leave. But, before I can leave, an army of orcs suddenly enters the house and attacks us. As this is a classic Dungeons & Dragons scenario, I know exactly what to do,” and my thoughts are just, “Of course, makes perfect sense,” because the story has been set up in such a way, that this feels like a reasonable turn of events. 

The stories in Look Who’s Morphing are very short, something that I think works very well with the level of absurdist they can veer into. I do not think I would want to read a full novel of something like this. That could very easily run the risk of feeling like you were getting hit over the head with “Look how ridiculous this is!”

Short story collections can allow for so much variety in a single book in a way that it is very difficult for a novel to do. It allows for a theme to be explored in a multitude of different ways, which is exactly what Look Who’s Morphing does with the theme of identity. It looks at cultural identity, sexual identity, gender identity, by moving through scenarios that handle them in a fun and strange way that doesn’t dilute the underlying meaning behind the story. 

You can find it here.

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