10 Quintessential Books That Reflect the Awesomeness of Orange County

A Long Stay in a Distant Land by Chieh Chieng (2005)

The UC Irvine fiction workshop grad’s hilarious debut novel follows three generations of the Lums of Orange County, who are doomed to meet untimely fates. Grandpa gets hit by a speeding ice-cream truck; an uncle falls off a cliff skiing in Mammoth. So when another uncle disappears in Hong Kong, it falls to Louis, a 20-something fact-checker at a hot-rod magazine, to travel to China to find out if his wayward relative is the latest victim of the family curse. Chieng, who was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Santa Ana and Huntington Beach, said he tried to keep the autobiographical elements in his novel to a minimum. He told Connie Martinson on her syndicated talk show: “If I did use something, I tried to cover my tracks.”

LAST LINE   “Grandma shook her head in disbelief, and Louis understood that she’d been by his side the entire time, seeing everything he’d seen.”