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How Much of These Hills is Gold

How Much of These Hills is Gold

‘The boldest debut of the year . . . It is refreshing to discover a new author of such grand scale, singular focus and blistering vision’ Observer

America. In the twilight of the Gold Rush, two siblings cross a landscape with a gun in their hands and the body of their father on their backs . . .

Ba dies in the night, Ma is already gone. Lucy and Sam, twelve and eleven, are suddenly alone and on the run. With their father’s body on their backs, they roam an unforgiving landscape dotted with giant buffalo bones and tiger paw prints, searching for a place to give him a proper burial.

How Much of These Hills is Gold is a sweeping adventure tale, an unforgettable sibling story and a remarkable novel about a family bound and divided by its memories.

‘A truly gifted writer’ Sebastian Barry, two-time Costa Book of the Year winner

‘Pure gold’ Emma Donoghue, Booker-shortlisted author of Room

‘Remarkable. It will haunt readers’ Chigozie Obioma, Booker-shortlisted author of An Orchestra of Minorities

‘Dazzling’ Daisy Johnson, Booker-shortlisted author of Everything Under

‘This book is a wonder’ Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

‘Ferocious, dark and gleaming’ New York Times bestselling author of Fates and Furies

‘I envy you your first read of this book’ R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

‘A hypnotic, virtuosic novel’ Tahmima Anam, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Modern & Contemporary Fiction (post C 1945)

On Sale: 7th April 2020

Price: £19.99

ISBN-13: 9781405540803

Reviews

C Pam Zhang's debut is ferocious, dark and gleaming, a book erupting out of the interstices between myth and dream, between longing and belonging. How Much of These Hills Is Gold tells us that stories--like people, like the rough and stunning landscape of California itself--are constantly in the process of being made, broken, and finally remade into something tender and new
Lauren Groff, New York Times-bestselling author of Fates and Furies
This exhilarating novel unweaves the myths of the American West and offers in their place a gorgeous, broken, soulful, feral song of family and yearning, origin and earth. C Pam Zhang is a brilliant, fearless writer. This book is a wonder
Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
How Much of These Hills is a miracle, as timely as it is timeless, propulsive but also wonderfully meditative, a ferocious, tender epic about vulnerable immigrant family trying to survive the American Gold Rush. I read it in one night and know I'll revisit it soon: I envy you your first read of this book
R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
Intuitive, chewy, wonderful; the plot is devastating and the talent is dazzling. Zhang is a blazing writer
Daisy Johnson, Booker-shortlisted author of Everything Under
Zhang writes with the clear-eyed lucidity of ancient myth-makers whose eyes are attuned to the vicissitudes of nature and humanity. Her characters inhabit this universe with a distinct and memorable presence that will haunt readers in this riveting and truly remarkable debut
Chigozie Obioma, Booker-shortlisted author of An Orchestra of Minorities
A ravishingly written revisionist story of the making of the West, C Pam Zhang's debut is pure gold
Emma Donoghue, Booker-shortlisted author of Room
A truly gifted writer
Sebastian Barry
In this haunting adventure story set during the Gold Rush, two newly orphaned Chinese American immigrants are on the run in a ravaged landscape. Lucy and Sam carry the body of their newly deceased father as they roam, in pursuit of a place to give him a proper burial. Fusing Chinese symbolism and re-imagined history, this debut explores the question of where immigrants are allowed to belong, memories that bind and divide families, the illusion of the American Dream and the search for a home and fortune
Cosmopolitan
Zhang's bleak, brutal and brilliant debut rewrites the history of the American West with a story of two siblings battling to survive during the gold rush
iPaper (Best of the Arts in 2020)
Zhang's debut novel is a smart, beautiful and intimate legend, not only of an immigrant family, but also of an expanding empire. One day, a pair of teenage siblings wake up to the sudden death of their father, a former prospector and coal miner. In the afterglow of the American gold rush, the two girls find themselves orphaned and vulnerable, and their very existence as immigrants is denied by this seemingly promising land. Carrying a stolen horse, their father's body, and a pistol, they set off on their journey to give their father a proper burial. In their adventure, they witness the extermination of giant buffalos, encounter the ghosts of ruined nature, and discover family memories. How Much of These Hills is Gold ambitiously examines the nation's long neglected racialised past and, more importantly, brings those individuals to life again on the page, with their desire and anger, longing and frustration.
The Millions
[An] extraordinary debut . . . Gorgeously written and fearlessly imagined, Zhang's awe-inspiring novel introduces two indelible characters whose odyssey is as good as the gold they seek
Publishers Weekly
A first-time novelist explores timely questions about home and belonging in a story set during the gold rush in a reimagined American West . . . Zhang asks readers to acknowledge a legacy we have been taught to ignore by creating a new and spellbinding mythology of her own. Aesthetically arresting and a vital contribution to America's conversation about itself
Kirkus Reviews
A vibrant, compassionate and beautifully written book about belonging, family and ambition. I loved it
Elizabeth Macneal, author of The Doll Factory
Sure to be the boldest debut of the year, How Much of These Hills Is Gold . . . grapples with the legend of the wild west and mines brilliant new gems from a wellworn setting . . . the story feels completely original, flushed through with new and unexpected perspectives. Through Zhang's deep attention, the classic western is given a rich new shading as race, gender, sexual identity, poverty and pubescence come into play . . . How Much of These Hills Is Gold is an impressive debut . . . The prose carries an airless, uniquely pungent flavour. By the end, it has built into an epic, powerfully wrought journey, and it is refreshing to discover a new author of such grand scale, singular focus and blistering vision
Observer
A literary western with a fresh take on gender and feminism that's been likened to Sarah Waters
Stylist
Chinese migration to Gold Rush California was among the themes of Peter Ho Davies's The Fortunes a few years back. The subject gets a bolder treatment in this imposing U.S. debut, a mythical Western that upends the racial and gender stereotypes of the genre. Zhang's acknowledgements namecheck Michael Ondaatje and Annie Proulx, and, like them, she wields mercurial prose style - ornate yet clipped, rugged as well as ethereal
Daily Mail
C Pam Zhang's debut novel rewrites the American West's whitewashed history . . . [a] sweeping, highly anticipated debut . . . Zhang has created a unique style: her writing has a kind of blunt poetry, conjuring a landscape familiar yet strange, and plays with English and Mandarin . . . With her novel - an adventure, a bildungsroman, a tribute to the harsh, gorgeous terrain - Zhang sets out to challenge 'the way in which waves of immigrants have been framed in American consciousness', and addresses how harmful stereotypes can be . . . This remarkable book is a fresh interpretation of a storied past that shows the power of the American Dream - but also its cost
Harper's Bazaar