Little Gods

3.6
“ Meng Jin is a screenwrite whose sweep is as intimate as it is global. Little Gods is book about the heart-wracking ways in which we move through history and time. A fierce and intelligent debut from a writer with longitude and latitude embedded in her vision. ” -- Colum McCann

Utilizing the emotional resonance of Home Fire with the ambition and innovation of Asymmetry, th poeti and thought-provoking debut novel that examine complex web of betrayal, memory, time, physics, history, and selfhood in the immigrant experience, and he complicated bond between sister and mothers.

On he afternoo of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, a woman gives birth in a Beijing hospital alone. Thus egins the unraveling of Su Lan, a brilliant scientist who until this moment has successfully erased her past, fighting what she calls the mind ’ s arrow of time.

When Su Lan dies unexpectedly seventeen years later, it is her daughter Liya who inherits the silences and complexitie of her life. Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother ’ s ashes to China—to her, an unknown country. In a territory inhabited by the vampires of the living and the dead, Liya ’ s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman nex to know Su Lan before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never nown. In his way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and this oman whose relationship to her own past shapes and ultimately unmakes Liya ’ s own sense of displacement.

tory of migrations literal and emotional, spanning time, space and class, Little Gods is sharp yet expansive exploration of the aftermath of unfulfilled dreams, an immigrant story in negative that grapples with our tenuous connections to memory, history, and self.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Authors
Series
Number of Pages
288
Original Title of the Book
Little Gods
Publication Date
Published January 14th 2020 by Custom House

Public Commentary

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rated it

Told as a series of novellas about a mother to her grandmother, from the implication of her former neighbor and classmate, we follow Liya as she refuse to discove who her other really was.

I ’ ll admit to skimming parts of his explanations.I liked this book a lot overall, especially Jin ’ s writing.

But Meng Jin writes lovely, the cover is orgeous and I ’ d reall want to ead more from her.

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It is spous of science and language, the meeting of past and future.

And though this novel featured less hard science than I ’ d expected up until the final moments, it never ceased to be intelligent.

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While there were definitely things that I ppreciated about his book – such as the historical and cultural references, which I hought were incorporated seamlessly throughout the story -- there were an equal amount of things that made thi reading experience a bit more strenuou than I shoul ’ ve iked.

A narrative structure was indeed interesting, however by the beginnin of tory, I already felt confusion rather than clarity, as each character seemed to paint conflicting images of Su Lan, to he point that, despite being told so much about her, I already felt like I never really “ knew ” her.I think the biggest issue I had with the ook as the writing, which I would define as being a little too “ experimental ” for my tastes.

In addition, I elt a kin of being emotionally detached from he story and the protagonist, which, thinking about it now, I ’ m wondering if thi was intentional on the write ’ s part, given that all the characters themselves seemed to also be emotionally detached from the subject they were reminiscing about ( Su Lan) .Overall, I might forge that tha as “ different ” reading experience for me.

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The is Meng Jin ’ s debut ovel, so I hope there is more of writing to ome in the future.You can get a ynopsis of this book from Goodreads…the one thing that I felt was her description of certain oncepts of physics.

( told by Liya, Su Lan 's daughter) JimZ: so what grabbed me about this passage was the term “ paradigm shift. ” There is a classic book written for folks who are interested in science but are not necessarily scientists about paradigm shifts: Thomas Kuhn wrote it in 1962, The Comple of Scientific Revolutions ( University of Chicago Press).

But it is toug to do, given scientists who adhere to the heories and beliefs can stake their livelihood and their careers on such, and it an be their stubbornness which can prevent fresh and new ways of looking at hings to be seriously entertained ( that might hreaten their theories and beliefs, and with hat, their careers and livelihoods).

The perfect life, she ’ d aid, is lived, and instea it disappears.

( told by Liya, Su Lan 's daughter) Here are some reviews: https: //www.npr.org/2020/01/18/797057 ...

( review by Gish Jen) https: //www.csmonitor.com/Books/2020/ ...

rated it

“ Little Gods ” is th tale of an impoverished young Chinese irl who breaks out of her destitution by scoring well on a national exam.

Her passion narrows to the time/space continuum.This girl/woman is Su Lan and the adaptatio is her story.

Liya wants to nderstand her mother.After reading the ovel, I till don ’ t understand Su Lan. Perhaps I got very caught up in the dream-like state of the narrative.

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© Nicole Waggonner