About The Book

An O: the Oprah Magazine Best Book of 2017

'Khong is a magician ... Brilliant' Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

‘Khong’s first novel sneaks up on you – just like life, illness and heartbreak. And love. A million small, human and often deeply funny details gather force to tell a tale that is ultimately, incredibly poignant’ Miranda July, author of The First Bad Man

Ruth is thirty and her life is falling apart: she and her fiancé are moving house, but he's moving out to live with another woman; her career is going nowhere; and then she learns that her father, a history professor beloved by his students, has Alzheimer’s. At Christmas, her mother begs her to stay on and help. For a year.

Goodbye, Vitamin is the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father’s career; she and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits – in the absence of a cure – of dried jellyfish supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the brilliant, childlike, irascible man her father has become.

'A beautifully written debut, dreamy and funny ... flawless' Independent

'Biting, funny and poignant and makes you wish you’d thought of writing it first' Stylist, '50 Unmissable Books'

'Like a chain of fairy lights in the darkness' Financial Times

'One of the funniest elegiac novels I have ever read' David Leavitt, author of The Lost Language of Cranes

‘This small miracle of a novel about family, friendship and memory is equal parts laugh-out-loud hilarious and acutely moving… a tender, brilliantly original storytelling style that’s completely her own…has reinvented the slacker comedy to produce a wry, witty and heartfelt family drama – a complete joy to read’ – Stella Charls, Readings

"A quietly brilliant disquisition . . . told in prose that is so startling in its spare beauty that I found myself thinking about Khong's turns of phrase for days after I finished reading."—Doree Shafrir, The New York Times Book Review

‘A beautifully observed story about family, relationships and memories.’ Australian Women’s Weekly

‘moving and funny account of a young woman’s life-changing year back home with her parents.’ Sunday Star Times

‘Rachel Khong’s novel is both moving and laugh-out-loud funny.’ Sunday Age

Laura Kroetsch, the outgoing Adelaide Festival Artistic director picked Goodbye Vitamin as one of her best picks for summer 2018 reads and said this about it: ‘For something less sinister, read Rachel Khong’s utterly gorgeous Goodbye, Vitamin, the story of a young woman, Ruth, who returns to help her mother care for her father, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As her father deteriorates, Ruth discovers the diary he kept as she was growing up; together, the two stories make for a wry and often poignant meditation on memory.’

"One of those rare books that is both devastating and light-hearted, heartful and joyful. . . . Don't miss it."—Buzzfeed

About The Author

Copyright (c) Andria Lo

Rachel Khong studied at Yale and the University of Florida. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Believer, Pitchfork, Village Voice and Lucky Peach. In 2013, she was named one of Refinery29’s 30 under 30. Goodbye, Vitamin is her first novel.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner UK (June 2018)
  • Length: 208 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471147241

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Raves and Reviews

'Brilliant disquisition on family, relationships and adulthood, told in prose that is so startling in its spare beauty that I found mysef thinking about Khong's turns of phrase for days after I finished reading.' 

– Doree Shafrir, New York Review of Books

‘A deceptively complex tale of dementia and its impact on a family… Like a chain of fairy lights in the darkness, with Khong displaying a deep understanding of the way in which memory humanises and connects us individually communally – and without which all becomes chaos’

– Catherine Taylor, Financial Times

'Mostly this sweet-natured novel is about Ruth’s attempts to come to terms with a past her father can no longer remember while still attending to the quirky, fleeting joys of the present. 'Here I am, in lieu of you,' she writes, 'collecting the moments.'

– Sam Sacks, ‘Best New Fiction, Wall Street Journal

‘Rachel Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin is the best of these debuts, conversational and light in tone, but heartbreakingly clear-eyed as well … Khong manages to imbue seemingly mundane topics with charm and pathos through her attentive, humorous and personable writing’ 

– Spectator

'A beautifully written coming-of-age debut, dreamy and funny . . . flawless’ 

– Independent

‘There’s beauty, humour and absurdity in even the most tragic situation as Rachel Khong demonstrates in Goodbye, Vitamin’

– Good Housekeeping

‘Funny and tragic, heart-breaking and life-affirming, it reminds you that in the end, that’s all there is – countless passing moments’ 

– Grazia

‘A tragi-comic story about holding a family together when life wants to break them apart and finding yourself when you thought you were completely lost. I absolutely loved this book’ 

– RED

‘Nuanced exploration of family love and remembrance…A contemporary take on the coming-of-age tale…It’s sweet without being saccharine, and moving without feeling depressed.’

– Refinery29

‘A deft, funny and very moving account of all kinds of loss’ 

– The Big Issue

'Mostly this sweet-natured novel is about Ruth’s attempts to come to terms with a past her father can no longer remember while still attending to the quirky, fleeting joys of the present. 'Here I am, in lieu of you,' she writes, 'collecting the moments.'

– Sam Sacks, ‘Best New Fiction, Wall Street Journal

'Khong dots the narrative with beautiful quotidian details, often gustatory: jellyfish lovingly prepared to stave off dementia, secrets told over a shared pomegranate. The novel's opening sentence – 'Tonight a man found Dad's pants in a tree lit with Christmas lights' – encapsulates much of its magical, visual approach, which is micro in detail but universal in scaope' 

– New Yorker

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