Hao: Book summary and reviews of Hao by Ye Chun

Hao

Stories

by Ye Chun

Hao by Ye Chun X
Hao by Ye Chun
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About this book

Book Summary

An extraordinary debut collection of short stories by a three-time Pushcart Prize winner following Chinese women in both China and the United States who turn to signs and languages as they cross the alien landscapes of migration and motherhood.

"The most common word in Chinese, perhaps, a ubiquitous syllable people utter and hear all the time, which is supposed to mean good. But what is hao in this world, where good books are burned, good people condemned, meanness considered a good trait, violence good conduct? People say hao when their eyes are marred with suspicion and dread. They say hao when they are tattered inside."

By turns reflective and visceral, the stories in Hao examine the ways in which women can be silenced as they grapple with sexism and racism, and how they find their own language to define their experience.

In "Gold Mountain," a young mother hides above a ransacked store during the San Francisco anti-Chinese riot of 1877. In "A Drawer," an illiterate mother invents a language through drawing. And in "Stars," a graduate student loses her ability to speak after a stroke. Together, these twelve stories create "an unsettling, hypnotic collection spanning centuries, in which language and children act simultaneously as tethers and casting lines, the reasons and the tools for moving forward after trauma. "You'll come away from this beautiful book changed" (Julia Fine, author of The Upstairs House).

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Two of the stories, 'Hao' and 'Milk,' were awarded Pushcart Prizes, but all of these sensitive tales amplify voices that have often been silenced. These battles are fought with pens, stick figures, tender drawings on a child's back; silent screams are in the background." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Bilingual Chinese American writer, poet, and translator Ye showcases her linguistic prowess in a prodigious debut collection featuring women on both sides of the globe...Each of Ye's dozen stories astounds." - Booklist (starred review)

"Chun's tender and skillful debut collection explores the power and shortcomings of language for a series of Chinese women in the U.S. and China over the past three centuries...Chun consistently reveals via bold and spare prose how characters grasp onto language as a means of belonging. Not every entry is a winner, but the best of the bunch show a great deal of promise." - Publishers Weekly

"These beautiful, profound stories are love songs to a daughter, tirades against an unjust world, and, above all, radiant meditations on Chinese history and language. Each story builds on the last with brilliance, power, and page-turning racing energy. Surely this book will be among the best story collections of the year." - Deb Olin Unferth, author of Barn 8

"That language must be used precisely to have power feels both obvious and too often overlooked, but in Ye Chun's Hao, we're shown not only the continually precise and gorgeous renderings of words and phrases, but the power this can have to conjure specific ways of being, to argue against so many silent violences, and to feel like its own type of taking care. Each of these stories is an individual world brought to life fully by the particularity of its language, by Ye's extraordinarily far-reaching and deeply felt imagination, combined with her consistently stunning acuity and control." - Lynn Steger Strong, author of Want

"Few books capture the raw terror and exultation of motherhood, and of the implications of language itself, so gorgeously as this one. To say that Hao moved me doesn't feel like enough: I felt changed on the other side of these magnificent stories. Hao is pure triumph." - Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson

This information about Hao was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Ye Chun

Ye Chun (surname: Ye) is a bilingual Chinese American writer and literary translator. She has published two books of poetry, Travel Over Water and Lantern Puzzle, a novel in Chinese,《海上的桃树》(Peach Tree in the Sea), and three volumes of translations. A recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and three Pushcart Prizes, she teaches at Providence College and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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