Joan Is Okay: Book summary and reviews of Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang

Joan Is Okay

A Novel

by Weike Wang

Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang X
Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2022
    224 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A witty, moving, piercingly insightful new novel about a marvelously complicated woman who can't be anyone but herself, from the award-winning author of Chemistry.

Joan is a thirtysomething ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who came to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, successful. She does look up sometimes and wonder where her true roots lie: at the hospital, where her white coat makes her feel needed, or with her family, who try to shape her life by their own cultural and social expectations.

Once Joan and her brother, Fang, were established in their careers, her parents moved back to China, hoping to spend the rest of their lives in their homeland. But when Joan's father suddenly dies and her mother returns to America to reconnect with her children, a series of events sends Joan spiraling out of her comfort zone just as her hospital, her city, and the world are forced to reckon with a health crisis more devastating than anyone could have imagined.

Deceptively spare yet quietly powerful, laced with sharp humor, Joan Is Okay touches on matters that feel deeply resonant: being Chinese-American right now; working in medicine at a high-stakes time; finding one's voice within a dominant culture; being a woman in a male-dominated workplace; and staying independent within a tight-knit family. But above all, it's a portrait of one remarkable woman so surprising that you can't get her out of your head.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[P]rofound...a tender and enduring portrayal of the difficulties of forging one's own path after spending a life between cultures." - Publishers Weekly

"Joan is such an idiosyncratic character, and Wang's style so wry and piercing, that the novel is its own category: a character study about otherness set partly against the backdrop of early-pandemic anti-Asian sentiment that manages to be both profound and witty. A novel as one of a kind as its memorable main character." - Kirkus Reviews

"Weike Wang takes us into the heart of the matter: death, dysfunction, xenophobia, misogyny, and the chronic misapprehension that passes between people of good intentions. The miracle that emerges, then, is just how funny this book is, how compassionate and visionary." - Joshua Ferris, author of A Calling for Charlie Barnes

"Incisive yet tender, written with elegant style and delicious verve. Joan isn't just okay, she's wonderful. I could listen to her smart, witty voice forever." - Sigrid Nunez, National Book Award-Winning author of The Friend

"This novel made me laugh, think, feel a bunch of things, laugh some more. And then, when I was least expecting, it snuck up and kicked me in the gut so hard I cried. Joan's voice and world view are hard to shake, and Weike Wang's writing is immensely rewarding and enjoyable. I really, really didn't want this book to end." - Charles Yu, National Book Award–winning author of Interior Chinatown

This information about Joan Is Okay shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, 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 the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media 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

Weike Wang

Weike Wang was born in Nanjing, China, and grew up in Australia, Canada, and the United States. She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. Her first novel, Chemistry, received the PEN/ Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, the Ploughshares John C. Zacharis First Book Award, and a Whiting Award. She is a "5 Under 35" honoree of the National Book Foundation and her work has appeared in the New Yorker. She currently lives in New York City.

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