Stamped: an anti-travel novel

Winner of the 2020 Association for Asian American Studies Book Award for Fiction

Finalist in Literary Fiction for 2019 American Book Fest

Stamped Cover Jacket 1

Exasperated by the small-minded tyranny of his hometown, Skyler Faralan travels to Southeast Asia with $500 and a death wish. After months of wandering, he crosses paths with other dejected travelers: Sophea, a short-fused NGO worker; Arthur, a brazen expat abandoned by his wife and son; and Winston, a defiant intellectual exile. Bound by pleasure-fueled self-destruction, the group flounders from one Asian city to another, confronting the mixture of grief, betrayal, and discrimination that caused them to travel in the first place.

Purchase on amazon, bookdepository, Westphalia Press


“an original, strikingly honest, and well-written story with a strong authorial voice….The writing is inventive and fun…Stamped will appeal to progressive-minded readers of literary fiction and travel writing, especially those with an interest in Asia or the Asian American experience.”

Bookish Asia (Camphor Press)

“Kawika Guillermo’s first novel places him in the company of evocative and moving agents…Whether or not you’re a traveller, or jaded, or young, or a cynic, you’ll end up rooting for Guillermo’s restless, escapist characters”

Cha: an Asian Literary Journal (Jason S. Polley)

“Reading Stamped made me think hard and to no real conclusion about the mix of freedom and containment that travel offers us, especially those of us who are non-white, non-straight, or non-aligned in any strong or stable sense. It made me question the silver linings I’m always looking for, somewhere over the cloudbanks.”

Entropy Magazine (Thomas Dai)

“Stamped succeeds as an anti-travel novel partly because it doesn’t tie up any loose ends (even ones I wanted tied) and constantly defies finding “meaning” in travel or in any specific place….One by one, the characters encounter the depth of the personal, cultural, or generational pain that led them to travel…”

—Stacy Pratt (Anomaly Magazine)

“Some of Guillermo’s most beautiful, lyrical writing is reserved for Skyler’s blog entries, painting poetic impressions to a degree of poetry rarely encountered in actual travel blogs.”

—Atticus Review (Alina Grigorovitch)


“In Stamped: An Anti-travel Novel, Kawika Guillermo tells the stories of American expatriates seeking to lose or remake themselves in the far-flung corners of Asia. His narrative voice—steady, visual, and evocative—is complemented by his keen ear for dialogue. In this impressive debut, Guillermo has given notice that he is a writer to watch.”

—Peter Bacho, winner of the American Book Award

“Kawika Guillermo’s novel teaches the reader how to engage the world and reveals the very best about being a traveler rather than a tourist. We follow not only a vivid visual adventure across Asia, but also a linguistic journey into understanding new language and a definition of ‘we’ that is inclusive and empowering and revealing.”

—Shawn Hsu Wong, author of Homebase and American Knees

“Kawika Guillermo has just crafted a brutal, sexy, and intelligent first novel, a deftly interwoven tapestry of colliding histories and desires. Guillermo’s characters are insiders who suddenly find themselves on the outside in an Asia that has little time to coddle their fantasies. Stranded within the false privileges of race and empire, they struggle, survive, and are transformed by encounters with their speculative Others that are both horrifying and fascinating. Guillermo’s novel is a thoughtful and unflinching look at the inescapable consequences of history on even seemingly ‘innocent’ relationships.”

—Lawrence Chua, author of Gold by the Inch
















%d bloggers like this: