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Portrait of a Thief

Best Seller
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li
Hardcover $26.00
Apr 05, 2022 | ISBN 9780593184738

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  • Apr 05, 2022 | ISBN 9780593184738

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Praise for Portrait of a Thief

“The thefts are engaging and surprising, and the narrative brims with international intrigue. Li, however, has delivered more than a straight thriller here, especially in the parts that depict the despair Will and his pals feel at being displaced, overlooked, underestimated and discriminated against. This is as much a novel as a reckoning.”
—New York Times Book Review

“A heist caper…that turns on breakneck action, fast cars and a thoughtful exploration of Western colonialism and the complexities of Chinese diaspora identities.”
—Los Angeles Times

“Beneath its glitzy European museum settings, late-night street races, sexual tensions and a plot involving an enigmatic Chinese billionaire, Grace D. Li’s debut art-heist novel, Portrait of a Thief, …wrestles with some weighty questions about cultural repatriation and the legacy of colonial crimes.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

“With the glitz of “Crazy Rich Asians” and the suspense of “Ocean’s Eleven,” Li’s debut is a fast-paced heist novel with the attendant glamour of priceless artifacts and a $50 million dollar payout. It also asks tough questions about cultural appropriation.”
—Washington Post

“In Portrait of a Thief, Li invites readersalong for a ride in the crew’s roving getaway car, promising breathtaking vistas and,more importantly, a reckoning with colonial legacies that have long lingered in theshadows.”
—Boston Globe

“This clever debut is an absolutely thrilling ride from start to finish.”
—Buzzfeed News

“A tender and tenacious art-heist story wrapped around an intimate cultural history of extraction, Portrait of a Thief is a novel that names the unsutured wounds left by the violence of immigration, xenophobia, and diasporic longing in the lives of its Asian American characters, a story of the comradery of resistance and a testament to righteous grievance.”

“You are going to want in on this one.”
E! Online

Portrait of a Thief manages to be both a gripping thriller and thoughtful exploration of Chinese American identity.”
—Business Insider

“A high wire act…by turns purposive and poignant, this complex and multilayered novel is a stunner.”
The Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star

“Full of schemes, dreams, intrigue, chases, and the thrill of the steal, Portrait of a Thief also asks larger questions about cultural identity, repatriation, and the colonization of art. It’s a thoroughly entertaining read, which is why it’s not surprising that it’s soon to be a Netflix series.”
Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor

Portrait Of a Thief is the heist novel art history majors have been waiting for.”
—The Millions

Portrait of a Thief is that rare, perfectly executed heist that reminds us why we love to pair art and crime.” 

Portrait of a Thief is a confident debut for Li, whose writing shows great control at the line level and of the overall narrative. Descriptions are both economic and poetic; the novel keeps a swift pace as the characters crisscross the world, from the American South to the San Francisco Bay Area, to Beijing and Europe. It’s easy to see why Netflix was so quick to nab TV rights for the book.”

“[Li’s] novel is seductive, drawing readers in with tales of beautiful people, expensive art and first-class flights. But beneath the glitz, this is a story of desire and youth; the responsibility to honor parents’ struggles and make parents’ sacrifices worthwhile; and the qualms of college students on the precipice of the real world, searching for a path that will fulfill them…”
The Stanford Daily

“This is an entertaining read that has fun with familiar ideas while still managing to give them interesting twists.” 

“A cinematic heist thriller with a social conscience…vivid and precisely crafted.”

“Fascinating…Li composes gracefully, and her polyphonic quintet is especially convincing as each considers motivations, generational debts, hybrid identities, and complicated on-the-cusp adult relationships.” 

“Debut author Grace D. Li makes a strong argument for why parent-pleasing students should and shouldn’t derail their lives for money, even the kind that erases debt. But it’s the sexual tension of the will-they-or-won’t-they subplot melding with the will-they-or-won’t-they-get-caught narrative that makes this novel a thriller.”
—Shelf Awareness

“Grace D. Li is a virtuosic storyteller, and Portrait of a Thief is the most exciting debut I’ve read this year. A thrilling art heist that grapples with the complexities of cultural identity and repatriation, Li’s novel is an intelligent page-turner that will keep you hooked until the very end.”
Lauren Wilkinson, New York Times bestselling author of American Spy

“In this slick, dazzling, debut, the stakes are high and the writing elegant. Here’s a story that offers not just adventure or a reprieve from the everyday, but big dreams, big hearts, enduring friendships, and the multitudes of identities that can exist within each one of us.”
Weike Wang, author of Chemistry

“This is the heist novel we deserve. Brilliantly twisty and yet so contemplative, with characters whose complicated backgrounds color their every move, this book will continue to haunt you long after you’ve reached the end.”
Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties

“Grace Li’s thrilling debut, Portrait of a Thief, is a beautiful examination of identity as children of the diaspora. Through Will, Irene, Daniel, Lily, and Alex, we see their struggles to connect with the land of their parents conflicting with what it means to be Asian American. This fast-paced heist leaves you clutching the pages and rooting for the thieves.”
—Roselle Lim, author of Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

A lyrical and action-packed tale of yearning, connection, self-discovery, and righting wrongs, Portrait of a Thief is a unique vision of what it means to come home.”
—Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times bestselling author of The Violence

Portrait of a Thief was everything I imagined and more. The writing felt close and intimate and the characters felt like portraits themselves, bursting with life and delicately human.”
–Morgan Rogers, author of Honey Girl

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