Kat Tang with Kate Folk / Five-Star Stranger

The Booksmith

1727 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

From $0.00

Mon, August 12th, 2024 @ 7:00PM PDT

The Booksmith is thrilled to welcome Kat Tang to the Booksmith for the release of her debut novel Five-Star Stranger! She will be joined in conversation by local author Kate Folk. Please RSVP below and join us!

About the book

In Kat Tang’s exciting and resonant debut, a “Rental Stranger”—a companion hired under various guises—walks the line between personal and professional in surprising new ways.

Would you hire someone to be the best man at your wedding? Your stand-in brother? Your husband?

In an age where online ratings are all-powerful, Five-Star Stranger follows the adventures of a top-rated man on the Rental Stranger app—a place where users can hire a pretend fiancé, a wingman, or an extra mourner for a funeral. Referred to only as Stranger, the narrator navigates New York City under the guise of characters he plays, always maintaining a professional distance from his clients.

But, when a nosy patron threatens to upend his long-term role as father to a young girl, Stranger begins to reckon with his attachment to his pretend daughter, her mother, and his own fraught past. Now, he must confront the boundaries he has drawn and explore the legacy of abandonment that shaped his life.

Five-Star Stranger is a strikingly vivid novel about the commodification of relationships in a gig economy, isolation in a hyperconnected world, and the risk of asking for what we want from those who cannot give. This is the story of a man who finds out who he is by being anyone but himself.

About the author

Kat Tang is a graduate of Columbia’s MFA program where she taught as an Undergraduate Writing Fellow. Born in China, relocated to Japan, and raised in California, she is fascinated by how we make and fake human connection in a technologically evolving world. Her short stories and graphic narratives have appeared in Electric Literature, The Margins, Pigeon Pages, and elsewhere. She currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Kate Folk is the author of Out There, a finalist for the California Book Award in First Fiction. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York TimesGranta, and The Baffler, among others. Her first novel, Sky Daddy, is forthcoming from Random House in 2025.

About the bookstore

The Booksmith is an independent bookstore located in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco since 1976.

Please note:

  • Masks are not required, but can be provided upon request.
  • Check-in begins at 6:45. Unclaimed seats are given up beginning at 7:10.
  • There will be a 30 minute post-show signing as time allows. Books will be for sale on the night of the event, but you can also purchase additional copies straight from our website.
  • Please be aware of the ticket tier you are selecting. The free general admission tier does not guarantee a seat and may be standing room if our seated tiers sell out first.
  • Questions? Accessibility requests? Write to us at [email protected].


Refund Policy:

No refunds or returns.

Cancellation Policy:

In the event of cancellation, you will be refunded the price of your ticket within 4 business days.

The Booksmith
1727 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117