Home Remedies: Stories turns on the subtleties and insights of poetry, though it is never insistently 'poetic' ... Wang manages this kind of epic grace and ceremony in story after story ... Wang’s description of submerged passion...has captured the physicality of longing alongside the physicality of agility. It is from both that the power of art emanates: in language, sculpture, painting, and dance ... stylistically ambitious in a way rarely seen in prose fiction ... There are, however, stories here that don’t quite measure up...to the very best. But the very best are extraordinary ... Writing like this will never stop enlightening us.
In her debut short story collection Home Remedies, Xuan Juliana Wang writes like she’s steadying herself against everyday whiplash. She has a careful ear and a steady gaze on lives that quietly, seismically shift under the rapid forces of globalization. Her mood is wary and her style is mischievous, but the animating force of her writing is always diligent curiosity ... [Wang's] fiction is chameleon-quick and only casually surreal, just to enough to stay true to the weirdness of living. Her asides are vicious and quick ... The collection is luxe, snaky, and perceptive, pulsing with new ideas about storytelling. The characters living in Home Remedies are written with unleashed tenderness. They’re so present a couple of times, it feels like crawling inside someone’s body and wanting to steer them away from various heartbreaks or self-sacrifices ... Home Remedies pushes against the perception that culture is bounded, and looks at what morphs when cultures shift locations and time.
...vivid snippets of memory, shrouded in emotional complexity. This sense of the ineffable, but achingly tender, courses throughout Wang’s deeply felt debut short story collection ... In Wang’s stories, the disorientation of migration and movement manifests at once loudly and quietly in the lives of a sundry collection of Chinese characters, from violent, wealthy misfit Millennials to accidental fashion stars ... Wang forgoes the typical contours of 'immigrant' perspectives — her stories are less about classical immigrant hardship or overt trauma. Instead, they often claw wistfully at feelings of profound alienation ... Her writing does not feel political, either. Its cultural specificity is driven by something more personal...and also perhaps primal and instinctual ... Wang’s writing began with those whose experience of dislocation is unexpressed in literature ... In Home Remedies her lens remains focused on these individuals, though their lives are translated less as part of the “immigrant experience” than foremost as deeply, universally human.
Home Remedies doesn’t read like a first collection; like Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies...the 12 stories here announce the arrival of an exciting, electric new voice ... [a] mixed heritage of cultures, cities and influences comes together brilliantly as [Wang] explores the lives, compromises and yearnings of Chinese millennials and immigrants ... From New York to Beijing, Wang writes of China’s millennials and the preceding generation with a wonderful blend of urgency and understanding. She captures what lies beneath the surface of the apparent aimlessness of the twentysomethings ... Behind the bright colour of these worlds — an old man covered in a gold constellation of bees, oracle grandmothers — Wang is a powerful chronicler of failure and warped dreams ... The sublime 'Echo of the Moment', which riffs on Haruki Murakami’s short story 'Tony Takitani', features a young woman whose life is transformed, rendered dazzling, when she steals a dead girl’s clothes ... It’s a fairy tale come true, until it isn’t. Wang is too wise to guarantee happy endings.
There are no broad strokes or homogenizing glances in Wang’s work. These stories, concerned with Chinese young people and their engagements with culture, curiosity, and identity are complicated and specific, personal and detailed, messy and absurd. Each story Wang creates is so perfectly and wholly its own world; the only moment of disappointment they offer is in their brevity. It’s hard not to feel a sense of loss at the close of each universe, so vivid, full, and necessarily affecting ... It feels rare for a single book to do so many things, and to do each of them so well: an unrequited queer Olympic love story, a woman transformed by the designer clothes of a dead model, an aging machine, teenage violence, sexual yearning, unwanted marriages. Each vignette is magical, and critically real. It’s a gift to read something so attentive, able to traipse across time and space with the utmost care for each life brought into focus.
Many of the collection’s most memorable stories contrast sweeping geographical movement and a keen global awareness with private revelations and crushing discoveries ... Taken as a whole, the collection features a vibrant mix of stories that offer intimate views into modern Chinese and Chinese-American life, while also holding up a mirror to American readers who might overestimate the freedoms of their own political system. As a debut, it is a striking demonstration of Wang’s versatile storytelling gifts, presenting a range of characters, perspectives, and formal choices that prove she has the tools to write a story in whatever way it needs to be written. Home Remedies is filled with characters facing boundaries to be crossed: cultural, familial, economic, political. The magic of these stories radiates from the friction created as characters enter new worlds and try, imperfectly, to make a home for themselves.
Wang's stories are spare and haunting, with endings that leave characters just as unsettled as their beginnings. Only occasionally do they turn tender ...The collection is strongest when it fully embraces Wang's love of the uncanny as a way to parse generational misunderstanding or the surreality of contemporary life ... A sharp and poignant collection.
his delightful debut collection of 12 stories should land on multiple must-read lists. Wang has captured the spirit and energy of contemporary Chinese youth seeking adventures abroad while navigating geographical and cultural boundaries ... Wang’s stories are funny, generous, and surprising as they introduce a youthful demographic that is growing worldwide. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.
Wang’s formidable imagination is on full display in this wide-ranging debut collection about modern Chinese youth ... Though some of the stories’ narrative momentum can’t match the consistently excellent characters, nonetheless Wang proves herself a promising writer with a delightfully playful voice and an uncanny ability to evoke empathy, nostalgia, and wonder.