Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 288 pages
Audiobook Length: 7 hours and 20 minutes
First Published: 2022
Just as strait-laced Ava Wong’s perfect life begins to crumble, her former roommate from mainland China appears with a scheme to make them both rich. Winnie has an audacious plan to import near-replica fakes of expensive luxury handbags from China, but she just needs someone with an American passport to pull it off. Yet when the enterprise goes south, Winnie disappears, leaving Ava to face the consequences.
Written as Ava’s confession to police, Counterfeit details Ava’s downward spiral as Ava explains how she slowly compromised her morals, sliding deeper and deeper into Winnie’s scheme. Yet, a twist halfway through leaves you questioning how reliable a narrator Ava might be. Although a quick entertaining read, Counterfeit never fully captured my attention and seemed to be trying too hard to be clever.
Money can’t buy happiness… but it can buy a decent fake.
Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home—she’s built the perfect life.
But beneath this façade, Ava’s world is crumbling: her marriage is falling apart, her expensive law degree hasn’t been used in years, and her toddler’s tantrums are pushing her to the breaking point.
Enter Winnie Fang, Ava’s enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business—someone who’d never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. But when their spectacular success is threatened and Winnie vanishes once again, Ava is left to face the consequences.
Swift, surprising, and sharply comic, Counterfeit is a stylish and feminist caper with a strong point of view and an axe to grind. Peering behind the curtain of the upscale designer storefronts and the Chinese factories where luxury goods are produced, Kirstin Chen interrogates the myth of the model minority through two unforgettable women determined to demand more from life.
About Kirstin Chen
Kirstin Chen is an author whose works include Bury What We Cannot Take, Soy Sauce for Beginners, and Counterfeit. Born and raised in Singapore, Chen currently lives in San Francisco. Visit the author’s website →