Welcome back to the NYLON Book Club! We are so excited to announce that the August selection is Jenny Zhang’s Sour Heart, a collection of intertwining stories following the experiences of immigrant girls growing up in New York City.
As would be expected from narratives that could fairly be categorized as coming-of-age tales, these stories explore issues related to family, displacement, identity, belonging, and struggle, but there is nothing typical about Zhang’s writing; her voice is at once singular and familiar, she makes you feel like you’ve arrived home, even as she takes you someplace entirely new. There is an unflinchingness to the way in which Zhang relates her characters’ lives—she doesn’t shy away from the ugly, the fetid, and the grotesque. But even though these characters inhabit worlds filled with profound pain and trauma, those aspects of their lives don’t determine their reality on the whole. There is still an abundance of love, complicated though that may be; there are still moments of family togetherness over late-night meals of Cup Noodles, with one family member showing love to another by picking out the desiccated peas and carrots from their styrofoam cup. Zhang’s Sour Heart offers a wild, sprawling portrait of people in their most intimate of relationships, and we couldn’t be more excited to be reading it with all of you.
Join us via Facebook Live on August 22 at 11am, when we talk with Zhang about Sour Heart, and chime in with questions of your own. To help you along with that, we’ll be giving away 10 copies of Sour Heart to commenters on the Facebook invite, below.