'I will never forget the first time I read Jenny Zhang … [I was] stunned, moved and – quite frankly – a little jealous … This book takes Jenny's voice to a new level … I hope you love Sour Heart as much as I do' Lena Dunham
Centred on a community of immigrants who have traded their endangered lives as artists in China and Taiwan for the constant struggle of life at the poverty line in 1990s New York City, the seven stories that make up Sour Heart examine the many ways that family and history can weigh us down, but also lift us up.
From the young woman coming to terms with her grandmother's role in the Cultural Revolution, to the daughter struggling to understand where her family ends and she begins, to the girl discovering the power of her body to inspire and destroy, these vibrant, raw and powerful stories illuminate the complex and messy inner lives of girls struggling to define themselves.
Fuelled by Jenny Zhang's singular voice and sly humour, Sour Heart introduces a bright new force in literary fiction.
About the Author
Jenny Zhang was born in Shanghai and raised in New York. She is the author of a poetry collection, Dear Jenny, We Are All Find, and a collection of poems and essays, The Selected Jenny Zhang. She was nominated for a National Magazine Award for her essay in Poetry magazine, and her writing has also appeared in the New York Times magazine, New York magazine, Rookie, Lenny and BuzzFeed. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Relegate anything else you're reading - there is no other book to be seen with now * The Times *
Deliciously subverts conventions of "immigrant literature" -- Pankaj Mishra * Guardian Books of the Year *
Obscene, beautiful, moving ... Jenny Zhang's astounding short story collection, Sour Heart, combines ingenious and tightly controlled technical artistry with an unfettered emotional directness that frequently moves, within single sentences, from overwhelming beauty to abject pain * New Yorker *
The writing is vibrant, the smells of the city vivid. Zhang's is an exciting voice and a welcome one * Observer *
In these gaping fissures and silences, Zhang gives life to a chorus of voices rich with reinvention, a narrative genealogy of what it is to be, to speak and to write across many forms of expression at once -- Emily LaBarge * Guardian *
Swerves from off-kilter humour to quiet devastation * Sunday Telegraph *
Zhang gives us huge windows into communities we don't often hear from or about - and that is part of what makes this book special ... An exceptional writer with the ability to build expensive universes that are heavy with struggle but never have space for self-pity -- Nikesh Shukla * Independent *
Who isn't anticipating this book? Jenny Zhang is one of the most exciting and thoroughly original new voices in American fiction, and Sour Heart is worth every bit of hype ... Hilarious and devastating, tender, and mischievous. Zhang's beautiful, direct and sometimes scatological poetry (and her bang-on essays) had already won many of us over, but this book will catapult her to another league * LitHub *
The narrators of these tales pull you close and hold you hostage with their singular takes on the world ... You'd be hard pressed to find a more intimate, raw and funny collection this summer * AnOther Magazine *
As I read, I quickly realized this was something so new and powerful that it would come to shape the world, not just the literary world, but what we know about reality. Zhang's version of honesty goes way past the familiar, with passages that burst into a bold, startling brilliance. Get ready * Miranda July *
Her writing is resolute in its ability to unsettle and even uproot - lighting your every nerve on fire, leaving your every synapse flashing * Nylon *
Sour Heart blasts open the so-called `immigrant narrative' by showing us the claustrophobic, cracked lives and demented love of families and by giving us the deepest x-ray of American childhood I can recall. Dirty, hilarious, and utterly original * Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs *
I will never forget the first time I read Jenny Zhang ... I was stunned, moved and - quite frankly - a little jealous * Lena Dunham *