Portrait of a Thief (Hardback)
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Portrait of a Thief (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 384 Pages
Published: 14/04/2022
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Waterstones Says

Freewheeling, kinetic and exhilarating, Li's unconventional heist thriller throws a group of idealistic young art students into a pulsating quest to 'steal back' five priceless sculptures from their wealthy owners.

This was how things began: Boston on the cusp of fall, the Sackler Museum robbed of 23 pieces of priceless Chinese art. Even in this back room, dust catching the slant of golden, late-afternoon light, Will could hear the sirens. They sounded like a promise.

Will Chen, a Chinese American art history student at Harvard, has spent most of his life learning about the West - its art, its culture, all that it has taken and called its own. He believes art belongs with its creators, so when a Chinese corporation offers him a (highly illegal) chance to reclaim five priceless sculptures, it's surprisingly easy to say yes.

Will's crew, fellow students chosen out of his boundless optimism for their skills and loyalty, aren't exactly experienced criminals. Irene is a public policy major at Duke who can talk her way out of anything; Daniel is pre-med with steady hands and dreams of being a surgeon. Lily is an engineering student who races cars in her spare time; and Will is relying on Alex, an MIT dropout turned software engineer, to hack her way in and out of each museum they must rob.

Each student has their own complicated relationship with China and the identities they've cultivated as Chinese Americans, but one thing soon becomes certain: they won't say no.

Because if they succeed? They earn an unfathomable ten million each, and a chance to make history. If they fail, they lose everything... and the West wins again.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 9781529386394
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 600 g
Dimensions: 236 x 164 x 38 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

This is as much a novel as a reckoning - New York Times

A remarkably assured debut - Sunday Times

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

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

Grace D. Li is a virtuosic storyteller . . . the most exciting debut I've read this year . . . 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

A beautiful examination of identity as children of the diaspora . . . 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

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 - Washington Post

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 - Vulture

This is an entertaining read that has fun with familiar ideas while still managing to give them interesting twists - BookRiot

A cinematic heist thriller with a social conscience . . . Vivid and precisely crafted - BookPage

This is a remarkably assured debut that deftly uses its heist-caper framework to make its political points. - John Dugdale, Sunday Times

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“Highly recommended”

Brilliant, gripping, and riveting. An excellent debut that kept me turning pages as I was fascinated by the characters and thoroughly enjoyed the plot.
There's a lot of food for thought but there's also a... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 6

“A new favourite!”

Reading Portrait of a Thief, it is hard to believe it is Grace D. Li's debut novel, everything from the prose to the characters to the plot is so beautifully executed, it is truly a joy to read. Reading through... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 6

“Ocean's Eleven meets Crazy Rich Asians”

Ocean’s Eleven meets Crazy Rich Asians, Portrait of a Thief is an action packed heist novel like no other. We follow Will, a high achieving, Chinese-American art student at Harvard, whose life is changed when he’s... More

Hardback edition
3 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 6

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