Sour Heart

Fiction can take the reader into strange and surprising lives. Jenny Zhang ( is a frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. Her stories cut across generations and continents, moving from the fraught halls of a state school in Flushing, Queens, to the tumultuous streets of Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. In the absence of grown-ups, latchkey kids experiment on each other until one day the experiments turn violent; an overbearing mother abandons her artistic aspirations to come to America but relives her glory days through karaoke; and a shy loner struggles to master English so she can speak to God.

Narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants who fled imperiled lives as artists back home only to struggle to stay afloat— ‘dumpster diving’ for food and scamming Atlantic City casino buses to make a buck—these seven stories showcase Zhang’s compassion, moral courage, and a perverse sense of humour reminiscent of Portnoy’s Complaint. A darkly funny and intimate rendering of girlhood, Sour Heart examines what it means to belong to a family, to find your home, leave it, reject it, and return again.

Check if this journey into the experience of very different lives of those in Lanark is in stock at your local library by consulting the online catalogue at



320 pages in Bloomsbury Circus

First published 2017

ISBN  978-1408892411


Jenny Zhang

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