Qian Julie Wang
BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK, OBAMA 2021 BOOK PICK and INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
‘Hunger was a constant, reliable friend in Mei Guo. She came second only to loneliness.’
In China she was the daughter of professors. In Brooklyn her family is ‘illegal.’
Qian is just seven when she moves to America, the ‘Beautiful Country’, where she and her parents find that the roads of New York City are not paved with gold, but crushing fear and scarcity. Unable to speak English at first, Qian and her parents must work wherever they can to survive, all while she battles hunger and loneliness at school. Thus begins an extraordinary story that describes, in vivid colours, days labouring in sweatshops and sushi factories, nights scavenging the streets for furniture, and the terrifying moment when the family emerges from the shadows to seek emergency medical treatment for Qian’s mother.
Qian Julie Wang’s memoir is an unforgettable account of what it means to live under the perpetual threat of deportation and the small joys and sheer determination that kept her family afloat in a new land. Told from a child’s perspective, in a voice that is intimate, poignant and startlingly lyrical, Beautiful Country is the story of a girl who learns first to live – and then escape – an invisible life.
‘A powerful, gripping insight into the world of an undocumented migrant in New York . . . beautifully written, with vivid scenes that linger in the mind long after finishing it’ Helena Merriman
‘A story that needs to be heard. Moving, beautiful, heartbreaking and even funny . . . I never wanted it to end’ Philippa Perry
‘Deeply compelling . . . I was moved by the love and resilience of this family thrust into darkness. The book casts an urgent light on a reality that extends way beyond America’s borders’ Hisham Matar, author of A Month in Siena and The Return
‘Astonishing . . . In restrained but beautiful prose, Wang honours her family’s sacrifices, but alerts us to the urgent realisation that they should not be necessary’ Nesrine Malik
A story that needs to be heard. Moving, beautiful, heartbreaking and even funny . . . I never wanted it to end -- Philippa Perry Now a successful lawyer, Qian is working through her trauma in this book, but it's joyous too, with moments of brightness breaking through even the most trying times * Sunday Times, Books of the Year * Elegantly affecting . . . Qian Julie Wang tells a remarkable story of displacement, heartache and resilience * Guardian, Best Biographies and Memoirs of 2021 * Deeply compelling . . . I was moved by the love and resilience of this family thrust into darkness. The book casts an urgent light on a reality that extends way beyond America's borders -- Hisham Matar, author of The Return A powerful, gripping insight into the world of an undocumented migrant in New York . . . beautifully written, with vivid scenes that linger in the mind long after finishing it -- Helena Merriman Sharply observed . . . Wang's story leaves the reader wishing that wanting a better future, and working hard for it, wasn't illegal in a country that has been built on the back of immigrants * FT * Astonishing . . . In restrained but beautiful prose, Wang honours her family's sacrifices, but alerts us to the urgent realisation that they should not be necessary -- Nesrine Malik Intricate and penetrating . . . a beautiful and hopeful read that also underlines what can truly happen to people who are simply seeking refuge * Stylist, an Unmissable Memoir for Summer 2021 * The must-read book of 2021 * Marie Claire * This beautifully expressed memoir of the immigrant experience charts her parents' struggles to survive as "illegals" in New York while their daughter battles hunger and loneliness at school, and is all the more moving for being related from a child's point of view * The Bookseller, Editor's Choice * A vital and unforgettable read * Refinery29 * A heart-wrenching and intimate account of life under the ever-present threat of deportation * Woman's Own Magazine * Heart-wrenching . . . A memoir about resilience and overcoming the odds, about finding the small moments of joys which punctuate even the grimmest of childhoods * Bad Form * Consider this remarkable memoir a new classic * Publishers Weekly, Starred Review * A potent testament to the love, curiosity, grit, and hope of a courageous and resourceful immigrant child. Engaging readers through all five senses and the heart, Wang's debut memoir is a critical addition to the literature on immigration as well as the timeless category of childhood memoir * Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review * Heartrending, unvarnished, and powerfully courageous, this account of growing up undocumented in America will never leave you -- Gish Jen, author of The Resisters Beautiful Country rings with power and authenticity. Wang's searing exploration reveals how she and her family were forced to navigate the yawning cracks in the American Dream. An eloquent, thought-provoking and touching memoir -- Jean Kwok, author of Girl in Translation and Searching for Sylvie Lee Powerful . . . A haunting memoir of people and places that will stay with readers long after the last page * Library Journal *
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