A FINALIST FOR THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY YOUNG LIONS FICTION AWARD • SHORTLISTED FOR THE PEN/ROBERT W. BINGHAM PRIZE FOR DEBUT SHORT STORY COLLECTION • LONGLISTED FOR THE STORY PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY LIBRARY JOURNAL
“An urgent and necessary literary voice.”—Alexander Chee, Electric Literature
“Tough, luminous stories.”—The New York Times Book Review
Xuan Juliana Wang's remarkable debut introduces us to the new and changing face of Chinese youth. From fuerdai (second-generation rich kids) to a glass-swallowing qigong grandmaster, her dazzling, formally inventive stories upend the immigrant narrative to reveal a new experience of belonging: of young people testing the limits of who they are, in a world as vast and varied as their ambitions.
In stories of love, family, and friendship, here are the voices, faces and stories of a new generation never before captured between the pages in fiction. What sets them apart is Juliana Wang’s surprising imagination, able to capture the innermost thoughts of her characters with astonishing empathy, as well as the contradictions of the modern immigrant experience in a way that feels almost universal. Home Remedies is, in the words of Alexander Chee, “the arrival of an urgent and necessary literary voice we’ve been needing, waiting for maybe, without knowing.”
Praise for Home Remedies
“A radiant new talent.”—Lauren Groff
“These dazzling stories interrogate the fractures, collisions and glorious new alloys of what it means to be a Chinese millennial.”—Adam Johnson, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Orphan Master’s Son
“Home Remedies doesn’t read like a first collection; like Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, the twelve stories here announce the arrival of an exciting, electric new voice.”—Financial Times
“Stylistically ambitious in a way rarely seen in prose fiction . . . Writing like this will never stop enlightening us. [Wang’s] voice comes to us from the edge of a new world.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
Wang's formidable imagination is on full display in this wide-ranging debut collection about modern Chinese youth. Her characters include artistic and aimless 20-year-olds eking out a living shooting subversive music videos for bands in Beijing ("Days of Being Mild"); a Chinese-American girl in Paris, who finds her life changed when she begins wearing a dead girl's clothes ("Echo of the Moment"); and a struggling writer who receives a mysterious gadget in the mail that ages whatever she puts into it, whether it's avocadoes, wine, or her cat ("Future Cat"). Wang plays with form as well, as in "Home Remedies for Non-Life-Threatening Ailments," written as a catalogue of such ailments as "Inappropriate Feelings" and "Bilingual Heartache," or "Algorithm Problem Solving for Father-Daughter Relationships," which allows a computer science minded Chinese immigrant father to apply his discipline's techniques to his relationship with his second-generation Chinese-American daughter. One of the best stories in the collection is "Vaulting the Sea," in which Taoyu, an Olympic hopeful synchronized diver, struggles with complicated feelings for his partner Hai against a greater backdrop of sacrifice, ambition, and tragedy. 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.