C Pam Zhang breathes life into an often untold story of the American West with this fiercely stunning debut novel. I didn't realize how much I needed How Much of These Hills Is Gold until it was in my hands and I was unable to put it down. As Chinese as it is American, Zhang's reimagining of 19th-century history still feels relevant today as it chews through the complexities of being an immigrant in this country. Recommended By Rachel M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
ONE OF NPR'S BEST BOOKS OF 2020
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2020 CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
A NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION 5 UNDER 35 HONOREE
"Belongs on a shelf all of its own." --NPR
"Outstanding." --The Washington Post
"Revolutionary . . . A visionary addition to American literature." --Star Tribune
An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush, two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape--trying not just to survive but to find a home.
Ba dies in the night; Ma is already gone. Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future.
Both epic and intimate, blending Chinese symbolism and reimagined history with fiercely original language and storytelling, How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a haunting adventure story, an unforgettable sibling story, and the announcement of a stunning new voice in literature. On a broad level, it explores race in an expanding country and the question of where immigrants are allowed to belong. But page by page, it's about the memories that bind and divide families, and the yearning for home.
"Zhang's debut novel is a smart, beautiful, and intimate legend...How Much of These Hills is Gold ambitiously examines the nation's long neglected racialized past and, more importantly, brings those individuals to life again on the page, with their desire and anger, longing and frustration." The Millions
"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
"The journey of these two children — and the backstories of their parents — force us to confront just how white the history we've been taught is...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 (Starred Review)
"How Much of These Hills is a miracle, as timely as it is timeless, propulsive but also wonderfully meditative, a ferocious, tender epic about a vulnerable immigrant family trying to survive the American Gold Rush." R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
About the Author
Born in Beijing, C Pam Zhang is mostly an artifact of the United States. She is the author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold, winner of the Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award and the Asian/Pacific Award for Literature, nominated for the Booker Prize, and one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of the year. Zhang’s writing appears in Best American Short Stories, The Cut, McSweeney’s Quarterly, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. She is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree.