Lonely Asian Woman is the debut novel of Sharon Lam. It ruthlessly skews stereotypes of Asian-New Zealanders at the same time as it offers a fantastical Wellington-centric bildungsroman.
The novel is set in contemporary Wellington and follows Paula, a lazy young woman who is stuck in a rut. Deep in stagnation, the sight of a spam ad for ‘lonely Asian women looking for fun’ becomes a moment of profound realisation that she, too, is but a lonely Asian woman looking for fun. Paula's new outlook leads her to shoplift a cheesecake-laden supermarket trolley. The trolley contains an unexpected attachment. Lonely Asian Woman is not the story of a young woman coming to her responsibilities in the world. Instead, Lam defies the expected and leads the reader and her characters to a deft climax against the grain of the titular lonely Asian woman.
Sharon Lam was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK. She has masters degrees in both creative writing and architecture from Victoria University of Wellington. She began writing as a staff writer for Salient, The Pantograph Punch, Starling, Headland, and Turbine Kapohau, amongst others. Her work has been read on Radio New Zealand, appeared in a vending machine, and she has appeared at the NZ Writers and Readers Festival and Litcrawl.
Writing in North and South, Paul Little said: "Lam writes with an engaging insouciance" and "there is no shortage of drolly absurd sentences".