LIKED IT? WANT MORE?
By Roxane Gay
By Brit Bennett
Fates & Furies
By Lauren Groff & Rodrigo Corral
If you admire all things Lena Dunham (aka GIRLS), this one is for you. Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang is the first book to be published under Dunham and Jenni Konner's Random House imprint Lenny. It's also Zhang's debut.
Let's start with a side note. If you're not already, subscribe to Lenny Letter for similar inspiration to what you'll find between the pages of this one. You can also read the publishing announcement here.
Sour Heart is a fictional collection of seven short stories. It's essentially about young Chinese American girls, daughters of immigrants, and the trials and tribulations they face in a new world. It's not at all easy for these characters, both within the home and outside it.
The book is as uncomfortable as it is eye-opening at times and features brutally honest writing throughout. Thoughts that aren't often verbalised, or ever shared, are fleshed out here. Zhang's writing is refreshing, witty and raw to say the very least. Lena's cover comment couldn't be more accurate.
It doesn't (in my opinion) have a resolution. It's what I'd call artsy. Also known widely as literary fiction. I myself have not experienced racism or much hardship, but this book led me to feel a deeper empathy for those that are of Asian descent. It's one of those books that you could read today, and again in a few years time. What you'd take away from it with each read would be completely different. Safe to say I'm very keen to see what Zhang does next. But if you can't wait, check out some of her other fiction, non-fiction, and poetry here.
FOR A fictional, sociological, honest look into the lives of Chinese Americans
PROS It makes you reflect on your own upbringing
CONS You'll wish you were a lot more literate + a little jealous you're not friends with Dunham too
ENJOY With a tea, in bed
LISTEN American Teen by Khalid