Besotted

Besotted is the ballad of Sasha and Liz, American expats in Shanghai. Both have moved abroad to escape—Sasha from her father’s disapproval, Liz from the predictability of her hometown.

When they move in together, Sasha falls in love, but the sudden attention from a charming architect threatens the relationship. Meanwhile, Liz struggles to be both a good girlfriend to Sasha and a good friend to Sam, her Shanghainese language partner who needs more from her than grammar lessons.

For fans of Prague by Arthur Phillips and The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee, Besotted is an expat novel that explores what it means to love someone while running away from yourself.

Besotted is an absorbing, nuanced debut about belonging, desire, and the frustrations that surface in an atmosphere of isolation. Set mostly in tiny apartments, ridiculous happy hour bars, and Starbucks—all Western attempts to recreate home—Duclos’s expatriate Shanghai is wholly unique and beautifully composed. Alive with keenly observed, vibrant detail, Besotted is a love story that pulses with heat and light, glitter and grit.

Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light

In Besotted, Melissa Duclos debuts a beautiful, bruising love story that fully inhabits the world’s disquieting spaces in between. Her tender, vital community of Shanghai expats are—sometimes in the space of a single, lyric sentence—both impulsive and calculating, passionate and standoffish, at home and as far from home as they can possibly be. The result is an exuberant, sexy tango of a novel, at turns playful and wrenching, that unpacks the ways desire and reality are both closer together and farther apart than they ever initially seem. 

Tracy Manaster, author of The Done Thing