This year I read the manuscript for Jenny Zhang’s upcoming debut story collection Sour Heart. It’s both about young immigrant girls growing up in New York in the wake of the Cultural Revolution, and a mind-blanching raunch fest that includes schoolgirl torture fantasies, prepubescent sexual assault, and benevolent vomit-eating. I’ve never read a book that so utterly ethers, all at once, the pious stereotypes of immigrant narratives, the Chinese model minority, and familial love — and if you can believe it, it’s also warmly doting and uncheesy (We Asians tend to be lactose intolerant). The content will not be news to fans of her poetry, but I’m looking forward to seeing pearls clutched nationwide when it drops Fall 2017 as the lead title at Random House’s Lenny imprint. You can’t unread it, but you will reread it.
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