Mike Fu

Set between New York and Shanghai, Masquerade is a queer coming-of-age mystery about a lovelorn bartender and his complex friendship with a volatile artist.

Newly single Meadow Liu is house-sitting for his friend, artist Selma Shimizu, when he stumbles upon The Masquerade, a translated novel about a masked ball in 1930s Shanghai. The author’s name is the same as Meadow’s own in Chinese, Liu Tiana coincidence that proves to be the first of many strange happenings. Over the course of a single summer, Meadow must contend with a possibly haunted apartment, a mirror that plays tricks, a stranger speaking in riddles at the bar where he works, as well as a startling revelation about a former lover. And when Selma vanishes from her artist residency, Meadow is forced to question everything he knows as the boundaries between real and imagined begin to blur.

Exploring social, cultural, and sexual identities in New York, Shanghai, and beyond, Mike Fu’s Masquerade is a skillfully layered, brilliantly interwoven debut novel of friendship, queer longing, and worlds on the brink, asking how we can find ourselves among ghosts of all kinds, and who we can trust when nothing—and no one—is as it seems.