How Much of These Hills is Gold
C Pam Zhang
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020
‘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.
‘The 19th-century American West is the setting for C Pam Zhang’s impressive debut. Rickety wagons, gambling dens, dusty towns and dodgy outlaws stalk its pages . . . How Much of These Hills is Gold breaks the mould [as a] revisionist immigrant fable of the making of the West . . . a daring and haunting epic’ Sunday Times
‘A truly gifted writer’ Sebastian Barry, two-time Costa Book of the Year winner
‘Pure gold’ Emma Donoghue, Booker-shortlisted author of Room
‘Dazzling’ Daisy Johnson, Booker-shortlisted author of Everything Under
A GWYNETH PALTROW BOOK CLUB PICK
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 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 * [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 * 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 * 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) * 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 *
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