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Four Treasures of the Sky
Cover of Four Treasures of the Sky
Four Treasures of the Sky
A Novel
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"Narrator Katharine Chin's outstanding performance will have listeners weeping as they hear Zhang's debut novel, based on actual events." – Library Journal (Starred Review)"Reader Katharine Chin...
"Narrator Katharine Chin's outstanding performance will have listeners weeping as they hear Zhang's debut novel, based on actual events." – Library Journal (Starred Review)"Reader Katharine Chin...
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  • "Narrator Katharine Chin's outstanding performance will have listeners weeping as they hear Zhang's debut novel, based on actual events." – Library Journal (Starred Review)
    "Reader Katharine Chin has a young, clear voice that captures Daiyu's determination and spirit. Chinese names and phrases flow easily, and Chin voices the cast of characters with sensitivity. Absolutely first rate." - Booklist (starred review)

    This program includes a bonus conversation between the author and editor.
    A propulsive and dazzling debut novel set against the backdrop of the Chinese Exclusion Act, about a Chinese girl fighting to claim her place in the 1880s American West

    Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and forced across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been—including the ones she most wants to leave behind—in order to finally claim her own name and story.
    At once a literary tour de force and a groundbreaking work of historical fiction, Four Treasures of the Sky announces Jenny Tinghui Zhang as an indelible new voice. Steeped in untold history and Chinese folklore, this novel is a spellbinding feat.
    A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books
    "Jenny Tinghui Zhang uses her considerable talents to illuminate the shocking injustices the Chinese in this country suffered in the 1800s, and in doing so, makes us stop and consider how much of that cruelty and injustice survive to this day. Four Treasures of the Sky is an engulfing, bighearted, and heartbreaking novel."—Ann Patchett
    "In a sweeping adventure that spans China and the American West, Jenny Tinghui Zhang has crafted a thoughtful story of identity, love, and belonging."—C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold

    "Brilliant and devastating, Four Treasures of the Sky tells the story of Daiyu, who is brought to America against her will and forced to hide who she is even as she grows into her true self. Weaving together myth and history, Zhang's work is both timeless and utterly necessary right now."—Anna North, New York Times bestselling author of Outlawed

About the Author-

  • Jenny Tinghui Zhang is a Chinese-American writer. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Apogee, Ninth Letter, Passages North, The Rumpus, HuffPost, The Cut, Catapult, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the University of Wyoming and has received support from Kundiman, Tin House, and VONA/Voices. She was born in Changchun, China and grew up in Austin, Texas, where she currently lives. Four Treasures of the Sky is her debut.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 21, 2022
    Zhang delves into the history of violence and prejudice against Chinese people in the U.S. with her debut, a lyrical and sweeping Bildungsroman. The narrator, Daiyu, is inspired by the tragic character at the center of Cao Xueqin’s 18th-century novel Dream of the Red Chamber, whose irascible trickster ghost inhabits Daiyu. In the 1880s, Daiyu’s mother and father suddenly disappear from their home in China. Daiyu finds refuge in a calligraphy school, disguised as a boy, but is nevertheless smuggled to a brothel in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Narrowly escaping, thanks to the ghost’s fearlessness, she reaches the mining town of Pierce, Idaho, and is hired by Nam and Lum, the Chinese owners of a general store. After a violent white mob threatens them, handsome violin teacher Nelson Wong stands with them and helps rescue a wounded Nam, and Daiyu secretly falls in love with him. Her story of self-discovery is interrupted after the white proprietor of a competing store is found murdered and Daiyu and the others are arrested, then abducted by vigilantes. The author skillfully delineates the many characters and offers fascinating details on Chinese calligraphy and literature, along with an unsparing view of white supremacy. The result is fierce and moving. Agent: Stephanie Delman, Trellis Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Katharine Chin's narration expresses the lyricism and emotions of this historical novel, which takes listeners into the late-nineteenth-century world of Daiyu, who is kidnapped from China. She reinvents herself again and again amid the prejudice of the U.S.'s 1882 Exclusion Act. Chin embraces the balance of adventure and sensitivity, as well as the layered persona of Daiyu. Chin also conveys the intelligence, creativity, and strength of the heroine as she makes calligraphy her own, escapes a San Francisco brothel, and falls into the hands of white mobsters in a small Idaho town. In neutral tones, the author delivers an afterword and participates in an interview that recounts her own journey and the truths behind the story. S.W. � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2022

    Narrator Katharine Chin's outstanding performance will have listeners weeping as they hear Zhang's debut novel, based on actual events. When her parents are arrested and imprisoned in China, Daiyu is turned out on the street and passes as a boy to get by. When discovered, she is kidnapped and trafficked to the United States, where she experiences many instances of the injustice heaped upon Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans in the American West of the 1880s. Chin's youthful voice is well cast in this production; her Chinese pronunciations appear authentic, and her earnestness when narrating Daiyu's perspective rings true. She makes excellent use of pacing and maintains strong emotions throughout. Particularly memorable are Daiyu's anger at a fishmonger, outrage at unfair working conditions, fear that her secret will be discovered, and disappointment when she sees a man whom she has feelings for kiss another woman. VERDICT Fans of Amy Tan will appreciate Zhang's dive into a little-told history of immigrants and Chinese Americans in the American West after the passage of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.--Stephanie Bange

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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