The place is China. The time is the near future. Decades of the government's one- child policy and the social preference for boys have created a drastic shortage of marriageable women. New laws allow each woman to have up to three husbands. Autistic men and gay men are forbidden to marry or have children, and they face arrest, relocation and "reeducation" if they do. Meanwhile, the vast population of single men takes part in war games, an activity that is grudgingly permitted by the government - until something goes terribly wrong.
Maggie Shen King's debut novel An Excess Male follows Wei-Guo, a single man who has finally saved up enough money to seek a bride. When he is introduced to May-Ling they have an immediate chemistry, but things don't go as smoothly as he hopes. Can he really love her and her two-year-old son? Can he be comfortable with May-Ling's other two husbands, brothers who are revealed to be gay and autistic, respectively? Can he keep their secret, or will prying eyes and rumors tear their family apart? And when a tragic accident disrupts the war games and Wei-Guo joins a protest against the government's harsh response, will he even be able to survive the consequences? Partly an exploration of how four very different people navigate a challenging relationship, partly a page-turning thriller, An Excess Male presents a unique idea of what it means to be a family. - Michelle (Sunset)