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Our Missing Hearts

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781408716915

Price: £20

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‘As lyrical as it is chilling, as astonishing as it is empathic, Our Missing Hearts arguably achieves literary perfection’ Booklist (starred review)

Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere took off (and became a Reese Witherspoon-helmed TV show). Now she’s back with a politically charged tale of 12-year-old Bird Gardner, a Chinese-American child growing up in a dystopian America where difference is being stamped out’ The Times Guide to Autumn Fiction 2022

From the #1 bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, a deeply heart-wrenching novel about the unbreakable love between a mother and child in a society consumed by fear.

Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard’s library. He knows not to ask too many questions, stand out too much, stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve ‘American culture’ in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic – including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.

Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him through the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.

Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can turn a blind eye to the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power – and limitations – of art to create change in the world, the lessons and legacies we pass onto our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.

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Reviews

Ng raises the bar another notch in a story intensified by reference to such police violence, political protest, book banning, and discrimination against people of color. VERDICT Ng's beautiful yet chilling tale will resonate with readers who enjoyed Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Jessamine Chan's more recent School for Good Mothers. As with her previous novels, her storytelling will not disappoint
Library Journal, starred review
Like Ng's previous novels, this one promises to be thrillingly paced and deeply felt
Lithub
Ng's first two novels - her arresting debut, Everything I Never Told You (2014), and devastating follow-up, Little Fires Everywhere (2017) - provided an insightful, empathetic perspective on America as it is. Her equally sensitive, nuanced, and vividly drawn latest effort, set in a dystopian near future in which Asian Americans are regarded with scorn and mistrust by the government and their neighbors, offers a frightening portrait of what it might become... From the very first page of this thoroughly engrossing and deeply moving novel, Bird's story takes wing. Taut and terrifying, Ng's cautionary tale transports us into an American tomorrow that is all too easy to imagine - and persuasively posits that the antidotes to fear and suspicion are empathy and love
Kirkus starred review
This story is set in a world that is dystopian - a society being consumed by fear - and close to our own...Ng barely needs an introduction as the author of the number one bestseller Little Fires Everywhere and the much-loved Everything I Never Told You
The Millions, Most Anticipated Books 2022
Ng crafts an affecting family drama out of the chilling and charged atmosphere, and shines especially when offering testimony to the power of art and storytelling (here's Bird remembering the fairy tale in his mother's voice, "painting a picture with words on the blank white wall of his mind. Long buried. Crackling as it surfaced in the air once more"). Like Margaret's story, Ng's latest crackles and sizzles all the way to the end
Publishers Weekly, starred review
So much of this utterly stupendous tale is hauntingly, horrifically, historically, currently all too real...Yet Ng creates an exquisite story of unbreakable family bonds, lifesaving storytelling (and seemingly omniscient librarians!), brilliantly subversive art, and accidentally transformative activism. As lyrical as it is chilling, as astonishing as it is empathic, Our Missing Hearts arguably achieves literary perfection
Booklist, starred review
Easily one of the most anticipated novels of the year!
Bookriot