Four days before Christmas, 28-year-old Brandon loses his job after a hostile takeover of his big-media employer. His boss Gil, who he is sleeping with, shares this news along with a severance check. Elsewhere, eight-year-old Bo loses his mother in a tragic accident, and forty-eight-year-old Blue, an anonymous key witness in a criminal trial against an infamous tech startup, struggles to reconnect with his family.

 So begins FLUX, a dazzling, time-bending debut by rising literary star Jinwoo Chong. When Brandon gets a mysterious new job, he begins to suspect that his employers have inadvertently discovered time travel and are using it to cover up a string of violent crimes. As Brandon’s reality unravels, the lives of Bo, Brandon, and Blue begin to intersect, in turn uncovering a vast network of secrets. Intertwined through it all is the saga of an iconic ’80s detective show, Raider, whose star actor has imploded spectacularly after revelations of long-term, concealed abuse.

Blending elements of neo-noir and speculative fiction, Flux is a haunting and sometimes shocking exploration of the cyclical nature of grief, of overcoming trauma, and of the pervasive nature of whiteness within the development of Asian identity in America from a powerful new voice in fiction.


An IndieNext pick for April 2023!

Jinwoo Chong received his MFA in fiction at Columbia University this year and is an editorial assistant at One Story. His work has appeared in The Southern ReviewThe Florida Review, CRAFT, and Salamander. He has received support from Tin House and Zoetrope: All-Story, as well as recognition from Alexander Chee, Téa Obreht, and Elliot Ackerman. He lives in New York.

”Mind-bending… Chong writes with such subtlety and skill that readers won’t realize the true nature of the speculative mystery at play until they’re already waist-deep in these interlocking narratives. The result is a gorgeous speculative gem for fans of Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s This Is How You Lose the Time War.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

Flux is a powerful debut – deft and fluid, sharp and dreamy. Employing the vehicle of a breakneck sci-fi thriller, Jinwoo Chong explores interstitial spaces of ethnicity, sexuality, trauma, pop cultural memory and, finally, time itself, with wit, tenderness and alacrity. The result is provocative and deeply moving. – Sam Lipsyte, author of Venus Drive

A smart and stylish addition to the tech thriller genre with interesting things to say about family, society and, indeed, reality itself. – Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure

Alluringly seductive and highly imaginative, reading Flux was like puzzling out a mystery always two steps ahead of me that I didn’t want to end. Chong has written an intricately layered and boldly cinematic debut that interrogates how the past collides with the present, and how our choices are bound up in not just who we wished we were, but who we dare to be. At once mind-bending yet grounded in timeless questions about forgiveness and hope, Flux is a kaleidoscope of a novel. – Elaine Hsieh Chou, author of Disorientation

Jinwoo Chong manages to combine a time-bending mystery, genre-bending adventure, and mind-bending literary novel into one stylish and propulsive thriller. You’ll tear through it. —Lincoln Michel, author of The Body Scout

Flux is the book of my dreams—expertly mashing genres and deftly playing with both time and perspective to tell a deeply human, personal story. It’s almost hard to believe this is a debut, and it instantly elevates Jinwoo Chong to must-read status. —Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse

”Provocative and propulsive, Flux is a delicious genre bender about the evolution of identity—the moments that bifurcate our lives and the ways in which we lose ourselves to trauma and time. A poignant, expertly constructed puzzle with an intellectual bite. I’ll be thinking about this book for a very long time.” – Julia Fine, author of The Upstairs House and the forthcoming Maddalena and the Dark