Kimberly Chang has her world turned upside-down when she moves with her mother from their home in Hong Kong to New York. But their new life doesn't quite live up to their expectations - living in a vermin-ridden apartment in Brooklyn, the pair only have a sometimes working oven to keep warm. They have nothing but debt and neither of them speaks a word of English.
While her mother spends her days earning two cents a garment at a sweatshop, intellectually gifted eleven-year-old Kim faces a new and trying challenge: school. Exiled by language, estranged in a new culture and weighed down by staggering poverty, Kim must learn to translate not just her language but who she is as she straddles these two very different worlds.
In this powerful story, Jean Kwok spins a moving tale of hardship and triumph, of heartbreak and love, of all that's said without words and all that gets lost in translation.
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Warm, affecting, a compelling pleasure. Manages that rare fictional feat of shifting forever the angle from which you look at the world ( Daily Mail )
A sensitively handled rites-of-passage account . . . has the unmistakable ring of authenticity ( Metro )
Amazing, an incredibly honest and powerful story, written with unflinching directness ( Easy Living )
Astonishing ( Vogue )
Dazzling ( Marie Claire )
A classic and moving immigration story ( Red )
Captivating ( She )
Superbly written and observed ( Woman and Home )
Jean Kwok was born in Hong Kong and emigrated to Brooklyn, New York as a child. She received her bachelor's degree from Harvard and completed an MFA in fiction at Columbia University. After working as an English teacher and Dutch-English translator at Leiden University in the Netherlands, Jean now writes full-time. This is her first novel.
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