The author of The Resisters returns with a short-fiction collection with 11 linked stories tracing the intimate ways in which humans make and are made by history, beginning with a letter penned by a Chinese girl in heaven to hell-damned Richard Nixon, whom she met on his 1972 visit to China.
... a jewel box of creativity and a joy to uncover. Across 11 synergistic stories about interconnected families, Jen creates a sort of episodic epic spanning 50 years, from Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972 through the umbrella protests in Hong Kong early in the pandemic ... Jen subtly draws attention to all these perceptions of difference, those based on race as well as on age, values, class and immigration status ... These stories offer valuable insight into our world, which feels increasingly divided in countless ways. Surely everyone—us and them, whoever they are—would benefit if together we read what Jen has to say.
... 11 gorgeously comedic and heartbreaking stories cleverly linked through family and friends ... the connections Jen finesses among her entrancing characters are surprising and piquing, her painterly descriptions compassionate and amusing, her summoning of ambiguity and hard truths uniquely illuminating.
This stunning new linked short story collection offers a fresh take on the experience of immigration and exile ... Some of the stories about the Koos...are hilarious. Others...are heartbreaking ... Jen’s crisp prose, wonderful eye for detail, and wry humor make them a joy to read, and there is wisdom here, too—we’re all exiles from something. Living between cultures might mean never being at home—or finding home in the space between.